Pyrazines: Synthesis and Industrial Application of these Valuable Flavor and Fragrance Compounds

Frederik B. Mortzfeld, Chiam Hashem, Kvetoslava Vranková, Margit Winkler, Florian Rudroff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Alkyl pyrazines—other than being extracted from various natural sources such as coffee beans, cocoa beans, and vegetables—can be synthesized by chemical methods or by certain microorganisms. The importance of pyrazines for the food industry is expected to grow in the upcoming years due to the higher demand for convenience products. The roasty, nutty, and earthy smell is reminiscent of coffee and cocoa, depending on substitution and concentration of pyrazines. The growing awareness of people about the ingredients and the origin of their daily food has strongly influenced the market with labels like “organic” and “natural.” Many flavor ingredients prepared by biotechnological methods have conquered the market recently and are destined to replace the ineffective (0.01% pyrazine kg −1 biomass) extraction from plants or animal sources. This review focuses on the achievements and challenges in pyrazine synthesis. The major part deals with an overview of methods such as the extraction of natural products, the chemical and biocatalytic synthesis, and fermentation by microorganisms. The different types of production are decisive for the declaration and value of the final product and span from 200–3500 US$ kg −1 for the synthetically produced or the naturally extracted 2,5-dimethylpyrazine, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000064
JournalBiotechnology Journal
Issue number11
Early online date17 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • biocatalysis
  • biotransformation
  • chemo-enzymatic reactions
  • fragrance and flavor compounds
  • pyrazine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology


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