All-purpose wheat flour is a useful long-term storage commodity, but is subject to off-odor formation. Although flour stored in a low oxygen atmosphere should inhibit rancid odor formation, it elicits consumer complaints about odor. The purpose of this study was to examine off-odor development in all-purpose wheat flour during ambient and elevated storage by determining the effect of low oxygen atmosphere and enrichment-bleaching on quality as measured by, free fatty acids (FFA), flour descriptive sensory analysis, conjugated dienes, headspace volatiles, bread consumer sensory analysis, color, loaf volume, and vitamin analysis. Enriched, bleached (EB) and unenriched, unbleached (UU) flour was stored in a low and normal oxygen atmosphere in no. 10 cans at 22, 30, and 40°C for 24 weeks. Moisture remained constant throughout the study. Headspace oxygen was < 0.1% in flour stored in a low oxygen atmosphere and decreased in flour stored in a normal oxygen atmosphere. FFA increased with storage time and temperature. The "fresh flour" descriptive aroma of flour decreased during storage and decreased more rapidly in a low oxygen atmosphere. The "cardboard/stale" aroma increased in flour stored in a normal oxygen atmosphere. The "acid-metallic" aroma increased in flour stored in a low oxygen atmosphere and was determined to be the off-odor from consumer complaints. Conjugated dienes and volatiles generally increased more rapidly in flour stored in a normal oxygen atmosphere and in EB flour, suggesting that the acid-metallic odor did not result from lipid oxidation. Bread consumer sensory analysis identified EB flour stored in a normal oxygen atmosphere to have the lowest acceptance scores for aroma, overall acceptability, and flavor. The acid-metallic odor dissipated within 24 hours when the container was opened and was not detrimental to consumer acceptance of bread made from the flour. Oxygen absorbers prevented the darkening of flour but not the reddening or yellowing. A low oxygen atmosphere resulted in higher bread loaf volumes. Vitamin degradation is not a concern under normal storage conditions. Bleaching appears to increase flour oxidative rancidity more than enrichment. Although storage at a low oxygen atmosphere results in an off-odor present in newly opened cans, it gave higher quality flour and bread. A low oxygen atmosphere should continue to be used in flour stored long-term, and consumers should be made aware that the off-odor present in cans of flour dissipates after opening.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science



Date Submitted


Document Type





oxygen absorbers, oxygen scavengers, volatiles, aroma, oxidative rancidity, bread, SPME-GC-MS, descriptive analysis