NFOK16002U Aroma - the Chemistry behind Odour

Volume 2023/2024

The course describes the role of aroma components in foods, and gives a thorough review of techniques for sampling and analysis of aroma. The relationship between the aroma profile and the sensory quality of a product is an important issue of the course, and includes working with the complexity of the chemical background for odour impressions. The use of multivariate techniques - chemometrics - to relate aroma analysis to sensory evaluation data is an integrated part of the course.

Through practical work with aroma analyses, the course will aim to enable the students to answer questions like: Why do low alcoholic beers taste different? Why does addition of milk change the aroma of coffee dramatically? Can aroma analyses be used to make a perfect copy of e.g. a leading product? Can the choice of frying oil affect the aroma of the fried product? How does heat treatment affect the aroma of a product? Chemometrics and univariate data analysis will be important tools. 


Learning Outcome


  • Understand the complexity of the chemical backgroud for odour
  • Understand the principles and methods being used to measure and interpret aroma
  • Know the commonly used techniques for aroma analysis
  • Know the basic sensory concepts and evaluation techniques
  • Know how results obtained through aroma analysis relate to measured sensory quality.



  • Evaluate possibilities and limitations of aroma analysis for food quality analysis and the relation to sensory quality through multivariate statistics
  • Treat GC-MS data using the most advanced techniques
  • Hands-on experience with aroma analysis and sensory descriptive analysis, including planning experimental setups, sampling, panel training and general practical laboratory work
  • Ability to assess reliability of data
  • Ability to perform suitable data analysis on instrumental and sensory data.



  • Reflect on the role of aroma and sensory properties in quality of food
  • Cooperate with fellow students in a project group, including planning, excecuting and reporting experiments
  • Reflect on working in groups.
The participants are expected to have basic skills within food chemistry, sensory science and chemometrics.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is highly recommended, including experience with larger projects, presentation of data and skills in academic writing.

If the qualifications are not met, students should expect a high workload to acquire the needed level of knowledge through the E-learning.
A combination of self-studies and e-learning before the attendance part of the course will give the student the basic tools and knowledge required for the course, including the theoretical background on techniques and instrumentation for aroma analysis of food as well as generic sensory analysis.

Through practical projects, where the students work in groups, measurement of aroma will be carried out. Sensory data will also be used and the results from the two types of measurements should be correlated. Based on the practical work, a written report is prepared. The student should also reflect on the processes in problem-oriented group research.

A seminar will be held, where the students present their results to each other. Theoretical exercises based on authentical datasets a.o. will be arranged. Before the course start, the participants must read selected scientific literature and complete the E-learning materials.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 16
  • Preparation
  • 58
  • Theory exercises
  • 5
  • E-Learning
  • 50
  • Project work
  • 76
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 15 min
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
The exam consists of two parts:
1. the oral exam (no preparation time, no aids allowed) counts 50% towards the final grade
2. the written group report with clear indication of individual contributions delivered approx. one week after the course counts 50%.

The final grade will be submitted after the written report has been evaluated. Both parts must be passed in order for the student to pass the exam. The questions for the oral exam will be provided in the first week of the course.
Exam registration requirements

Laboratory work carried out in groups, and presentation given at the seminar.

Without aids

No aids allowed for the oral exam.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Same as ordinary exam.

If exam requirements have not been met prior to the re-examination, students must retake the course.

If the student wants to hand in a revised report before the re-exam it must be no later than two weeks before the re-exam. Passed parts of the exam do not have to be re-taken. 


Criteria for exam assesment

Cf. Learning Outcomes