Non-volatile organic acids and amino acids are important flavor compounds in Pixian broad-bean paste, which is a traditional Chinese seasoning product. In this study, non-volatile organic acids, formed in the broad-bean paste due to the metabolism of large molecular compounds, are qualitatively and quantitatively determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Amino acids, mainly produced by hydrolysis of soybean proteins, were determined by the amino acid automatic analyzer. Results indicated that seven common organic acids and eighteen common amino acids were found in six Pixian broad-bean paste samples. The content of citric acid was found to be the highest in each sample, between 4.1 mg/g to 6.3 mg/g, and malic acid were between 2.1 mg/g to 3.6 mg/g ranked as the second. Moreover, fumaric acid was first detected in fermented bean pastes albeit with a low content. For amino acids, savory with lower sour taste including glutamine (Gln), glutamic acid (Glu), aspartic acid (Asp) and asparagines (Asn) were the most abundant, noted to be 6.5 mg/g, 4.0 mg/g, 6.4 mg/g, 4.9 mg/g, 6.2 mg/g and 10.2 mg/g, and bitter taste amino acids followed. More importantly, as important flavor materials in Pixian broad-bean paste, these two groups of substances are expected to be used to evaluate and represent the flavor quality of Pixian broad-bean paste. Moreover, the results revealed that citric acid, glutamic acid, methionine and proline were the most important flavor compounds. These findings are agreat contribution for evaluating the quality and further assessment of Pixian broad-bean paste.
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