NFOK16002U Aroma - the Chemistry behind Odour

Volume 2020/2021

MSc Programme in Food Innovation and Health


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 quality is an integrated part of the course. 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? How does extended storage affect the aroma of a product?

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 evaluation techniques
  • Know how results obtained through aroma analysis relate to 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 analysis
  • Ability to apply sensory methodology and assess reliability of the obtained data



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

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
A combination of self-studies and e-learning before 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 teams, measurement of aroma will be carried out. Sensory analysis will also be carried out and the results obtained using the two types of measurements should be correlated using chemometrics. Based on the practical work, a written report is prepared. The student should also reflect on the processes in problem-oriented team research. Seminars/colloquia will be held, where the students present their products and 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.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 16
  • Preparation
  • 66
  • Theory exercises
  • 10
  • E-Learning
  • 37
  • Project work
  • 40
  • Exam
  • 37
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 15 min
Written assignment
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 team report delivered approx. one week after 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 teams, and presentations given at colloquia

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 three weeks before the re-exam. Passed parts of the exam do not have to re-taken. 


Criteria for exam assesment

Cf. Learning Outcomes