One of the most difficult but most interesting classes I have experienced at USC is Organic Chemistry. The subject is a fascinating puzzle of breaking bonds and making bonds in order to form a product. To be honest, I wondered what the practical applications of it were…but then my friend showed me an article about the chemicals behind the aroma of bacon.
So first, you have to know, aromatic compounds in O-Chem are planar, cyclic, fully conjugated compounds with delocalized pi electrons.
Bacon has one of the most popular, yet distinct, aromas. Sugars in the food are broken down by reaction with amino acids, called a Maillard Reaction.
There’s a higher percentage of nitrites, specifically pyridine and pyrazine (two aromatic compounds), in bacon compared to other meats. When those are combined with (about 150!) other molecules, including oxygen containing aromatic compounds like furan, they essentially become bacon-y, delicious goodness.