Aroma - the Chemistry behind Odour

Course content

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 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 instrumental aroma data using the most advanced techniques
  • Hands-on experience with aroma analysis, including planning experimental setups, sampling, and general practical laboratory work
  • Ability to assess reliability of data
  • Ability to perform suitable data analysis on instrumental data and to relate it to sensory data.



  • Reflect on the role of aroma properties in quality of food
  • Cooperate with fellow students in a project group, including planning, executing and reporting experiments
  • Reflect on working in groups.

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.

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 students are encouraged to make a critical use of ChatGPT or other Large Language Models in the preparation of the report. The students 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.

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.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral exam on basis of previous submission, 25 minutes with no preparation time
Type of assessment details
The exam is conducted in both reports (submisssion in groups) and the curriculum.
If the report (submission)is not submitted during the course, the student cannot take the oral exam.
Exam registration requirements

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

Without aids

No aids allowed for the oral exam but the student can bring a paper version of the project report.

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

Same as regular.

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

If the student has submitted the report but did not participate in the oral exam, the re-examination should be based on the original report.

If the student fails the regular exam, a re-examination can be based on either the original report or a new report prepared individually by the student.

In that case, the report must be submitted no later than 2 weeks before the re-examination.


Criteria for exam assessment

Cf. Learning Outcomes

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 16
  • Preparation
  • 58
  • Theory exercises
  • 5
  • E-Learning
  • 50
  • Project work
  • 76
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master
5-30 August 2024
Summer course 4 weeks in August, weeks 32-35. The first week (week 32) is for e-learning and reading, weeks 33 and 34 comprise teaching on campus, and the last week (week 35) is for report writing and the oral exam.
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Food, Human Nutrition and Sports
Contracting department
  • Department of Food Science
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinators
  • Mikael Agerlin Petersen   (3-7064734369727267316e7831676e)
  • Sylvester Holt   (14-81877a8473818273803c767d7a824e747d7d723c79833c7279)
Saved on the 30-10-2023

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