Several volatile sulphur compounds have been detected in raw and processed milk. These are hydrogen sulphide, methanethiol, carbonyl sulphide, dimethyl sulphide, carbon disulphide, dimethyl disulphide, dimethyl trisulphide, dimethyl sulphoxide, and dimethyl sulphone. Many of these increase in milk during heat processing and are associated with the cooked flavor of heat-treated milks, particularly UHT and sterilized milk. Several researchers have attempted to explain the origin of these volatiles in both raw and processed milk, and how to reduce the associated cooked flavor that has a negative impact on consumer acceptability of processed milk. These compounds are difficult to detect and analyze due to their high volatility, sensitivity to oxidation and heat, and in some cases, their very low concentrations. However, methods of detection and quantification have improved in recent years. Pre-concentration methods such as solid phase microextraction (SPME) together with gas chromatography equipped with sulphur-selective detectors now enable low concentrations of these compounds to be analyzed. In this review, methods of extraction and analyzis of these volatile sulphur compounds are comared, and their occurrence in milk is reviewed.
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