• Can Chromatography Make Dog Food More Appealing?


Can Chromatography Make Dog Food More Appealing?

Feb 25 2021

Dogs seem to eat anything they can get. Toilet roll, slippers and balls are some of the favourites it seems. But in terms of nutrition and proper dog food, many dogs seem to be happy eating the same food day in and day out. But sometimes owners need or want their pooches to eat something different. Perhaps for medical reasons or because their pets are hard to please, or even just for something different.

Well help could be at hand after researchers from Jiangnan University in China identified the key aroma compounds in dog foods that are most likely to get dogs salivating in anticipation. The work, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry under the title Characterization of the Key Aroma Compounds in Dog Foods by Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry, Acceptance Test, and Preference Test reports on how gas chromatography could be helping to make your pooch happier with your food choices.

Does your pooch turn his nose up?

Like humans, dogs appraise their food using appearance, taste, odour, and texture. Studies have shown that for dogs, odour is very important in whether a taste or aroma is palatable or not. Several volatile compounds have been identified in dog food. But what is not known is which specific aroma compounds affect the palatability of food for a dog. The researchers from Jiangnan University wanted to find out which are the aroma compounds which make a pooch want to eat a particular food?

The team from the university fed six dogs one of six foods and compared how much of each food the dogs consumed in one hour. The researchers also analysed each of the foods using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to discover which volatile compounds were present in each of the foods. A discussion of new chromatographic technologies can be found in the article, Practical Impact of Dispersion on Fast Chromatographic Separations.

Sniffing out the nice odours

The team found that three of the foods had a higher intake than the rest and by using GC-MS they were able to find a correlation – positive and negative - between 12 volatile compounds and the six foods. The team added each of the identified aroma compounds to an odourless food. They then gave the dogs a choice of eating the odourless food or the sample with an aroma compound added.

From the GC-MS and the dogs taste test, the team were able to identify the preferred aroma compounds. They found that the preferred food contained the compounds (E)-2-hexenal (humans smell an unpleasant fatty odour), 2-furfurylthiol (roasted and smoky odour) and 4-methyl-5-thiazoleethanol (meaty odour). They also identified several compounds that the dogs didn’t particularly enjoy.

The results could help pet food manufacturers make more palatable food for Fido.

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