Over two hundred academics from Universities and Institutes around the world and flavour researchers from industry attended this symposium held in the beautiful and historic setting of Queens’ College, Cambridge.

Each day delegates had to cross the famous Mathematical Bridge spanning the River Cam to attend functions and to take part in the poster sessions. The weather was beautiful and the College was an absolutely awesome environment in which to hold this prestigious event. The organisers, headed up by Andy Taylor and Don Mottram, must be congratulated for producing such a memorable and successful event and for organising a high quality cutting-edge academic programme.

In total there were 38 lectures, 17 flash poster presentations and 125 poster presentations. It was an exhausting programme for anyone attempting to attend all the lectures and poster sessions. The proceedings were divided into subject groups: Flavour Discovery, Flavour Generation, Flavour Perception, Flavour Effects on the Body and Flavour in Food Products.

It would be impossible to summarise the content of all the sessions in this newsletter but for flavourists one theme came through very strongly: the number of flavour active sulphur compounds being discovered in a diverse number of food products. Examples include a paper by Steinhaus from the German Research Centre for Food Chemistry entitled Decoding the “Smell of Hell” that described the important contribution that 1-ethylsulphanyl)-ethanethiol makes to the aroma profile of durian and claimed that its use in combination with ethyl-2-methylbutyrate, an important ester in durian, reproduced the aroma profile of durian pulp. Sakaguchi from Takasago reported two newly identified sulphur compounds in purple passion fruit; ethyl-3-mercaptobutyrate and 3-(methylthio)propionic acid. Additionally thirteen other sulphur containing compounds were also identified which included the distinctive passion fruit compounds 3-mercaptohexylacetate and 3-mercapto hexylhexanoate.

A study of the stereoisomers of 4-mercaptohepan-2-one and its corresponding alcohol, naturally occurring in red bell pepper, was presented by Nörenberg from the Technical University Munich and the stereoisomers contributing to the aroma character identified. There was one very interesting paper from Cannon, IFF, on the discovery of new sulphur compounds in lemon, one of which was described as possessing a candy green, lemon fresh, zesty, tropical brown sugar tangerine aroma. A prize winning poster from Ellie, Firmenich, described the reaction of 2-methyl-tetrahydrofuran-3-one and ammonium sulphide which produced a new spirothiazoline; 2-(3,6-dimethyl-7-oxa-1-thia-4-azaspiro[4,4]non-3-en2-yl)ethanol. A flash presentation by Zoe, German Research Centre for Food Chemistry, described the discovery that the human odour receptor OR2M3 responds to 3-mercapto-2-methylalkan-1-ol compounds. The group includes 3-mercapto-2-methylpentan-1-ol, a key aroma compound in onions.

If this has whetted your appetite the proceedings of the symposium will be published in April 2015.

Delegates assembling near the mathematical bridge for a tour of Cambridge