Diacetyl is an important flavor contributor of butter and various other foods. Similarity in chemical structure suggests that a number of other a-diketones would be similar in certain properties, including odor, to diacetyl, the simplest member of the series. Diacetyl and various homologs were synthesized long ago their reactions studied and certain similar chemical behaviors noted. However, the descriptions of the odors originally given would hardly suggest that diacetyl is involved in the flavor of certain foods. The work of van Niel, Kluyver and Derx (81) showed the importance of diacetyl as a flavor contributor of butter. Epstein and Harris (22-25) patented the use of certain a-diketones as flavoring materials for various foods. Taufel and Thaler (74) incidentally mentioned that in practice acetylpropionyl was sometimes used as a substitute for diacetyl.
Prill, E. A.; Fabricius, N. E.; and Hammer, B. W.
"Diacetyl and other Alpha-Dicarbonyl compounds with special reference to the flavor of butter,"
Research Bulletin (Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station): Vol. 24
, Article 1.
Available at: https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/researchbulletin/vol24/iss268/1