Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access



Faculty Mentor

Eric Williamsen


Presented during the 17th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 24, 2015 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

For consumers, producers, and manipulators of food, knowing the chemical composition and how environmental conditions change the composition can lead to improvements in areas such as safety, taste, and how to better prepare food products. Flavor is a combination of taste and smell so to fully characterize the important chemical compounds one must detect both volatile and nonvolatile components. This initial, time-resolved studies of sourdough have begun using gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS) to measure the volatile compounds and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to measure nonvolatile compounds of sourdough. Samples of sourdough were stored in glass vials with an air-tight septum and sampled at regular intervals. The headspace was sampled using two different methods, gas-tight syringe and solid phase microextraction (SPME), and the samples were injected into the GC/MS for analysis. Sourdough was dissolved in water, artificial saliva, and methanol for liquid injection into the GC/MS as well. Sourdough was also dissolved in artificial saliva to be analyzed using HPLC to determine what compounds are available to be sensed by taste buds. Initial results from both the volatile and nonvolatile analyses will be presented and the next steps of the project will be described. Once optimized, the techniques used to analyze sourdough could be applied to other foods that have been prepared by different methods.