Isoamyl Acetate (Banana Flavor)




Flavors are essential for a food product, and Isoamyl acetate is widely used as a flavor in the food industry because of its unique banana taste and odor. Isoamyl acetate can be found naturally in the banana plant, and it is also possible to produce synthetically. It is a mixture of acetic acid esters of pentanols [1-2].

Ester group is an important group. Their general formula is R-CO-O-R', which are widely distributed in nature. Esters usually have a pleasant odor. In many examples, the characteristic aroma and taste of fruits and some flowers are due to the ester group. Ester group can be synthesized in various techniques such as Fischer-Speier esterification. With this practical and widely used laboratory condition method, carboxylic acid or alcohol is used as an economic product and available in large quantities. Many aromas' organoleptic properties occur due to a single ester that predominates, as in our case banana oil, the main constituent is isoamyl acetate [3]. In the below picture, you can see the general mechanism of Fischer-Speier esterification and synthesize of isoamyl acetate using Fischer esterification.

Picture 1: Fischer Esterification and synthesis of isoamyl acetate

On the other hand, currently, consumers are moving towards foods containing "natural" flavors because of health and environmental concerns; therefore, it is a competitive alternative to Fischer Esterification biotechnology work to find new synthesis techniques Enzyme and whole-cell biocatalysis and fermentation. These techniques are considered close to "natural." However, these methods require some stages only performed in a laboratory environment, but they have a higher potential for industrial production. [1].

Moreover, to be the major component of banana aroma, isoamyl acetate also composes the bee alarm pheromone, the release of which is a protective reaction to alert nearby bees and also flavour for paint and insecticide. [3].






 [1] Torres, Sebastian and Pandey, Ashok and Castro, & Guillermo. (2010). Banana flavor: Insights into isoamyl acetate production. Bananas: Nutrition, Diseases and Trade Issues, 225–244. Retrieved from

[2] Isoamyl acetate. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved February 13, 2021, from

[3] Martínez Pérez, I. (2018). Isoamyl acetate synthesis. Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV). Retrieved from