Seaweeds are highly priced not only for its nutritional benefit but also its taste. Whether eaten raw or cooked, it adds a distinct umami flavor to our food. The chemical makeup of seaweeds which bring out the umami flavor is called volatile compounds, and consists of alcohols, hydrocarbons, aldehydes, halogenated compounds, esters and other chemical families, depending on the species.
Understanding these volatile compounds is important as it will help manufacturers extract key ingredients from the seaweed efficiently without losing its nutritional value. This was the basis of this latest study from a team from the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Using a combination of dynamic headspace with system Stratum PTC Purge, Trap Concentrator and GC–MS method, scientists were able to profile Wakame and Kombu seaweeds with only a small sample size and without requiring any solvents.