Components of Smoke


The most important components of wood smoke are:


  • About 20 different phenols have been isolated and identified from wood smoke, e.g. P-cresol, guaiacol, methyl guaiacol.
  • They act as antioxidant, contribute to the characteristic flavour of the smoked products and have a bacteriostatic effect that contributes to preservation.

Alcohols and Aldehydes 

  • Primary, secondary alcohols mainly methanol or wood alcohol may exert a minor bacteriostatic effect.
  • Formaldehyde acts as a bacteriostatic agent. 

Organic acids

  • Formic acid, acetic acid, propionic acid, butyric and iso-butyric acids, etc., are some of the important organic acids commonly used.
  • They also appear to have only a minor preservative action.
  • In artificial smoked preparations they play an important part in coagulation of surface proteins of smoked meat products of skinless frankfurters.


  • A large number of carbonyl compounds contribute to smoke e.g. diacetyl, acetone, propanol, etc.
  • Certain carbonyl compounds contribute to smoke flavour and aroma and browning of the product.


  • A number of polycyclic hydrocarbons have been isolated from smoked foods, e.g. 4-benzapyrene and diphenanthracene .
  • They do not appear to impart preservative or organoleptic properties.
Last modified: Tuesday, 27 December 2011, 10:27 AM