Benzaldehyde consists of a phenyl ring and a formyl substituent. Under room temperature and pressure, it is a liquid with characteristic almond smell. Due to the almond odor, it should not be surprising that benzaldehyde is the primary component of bitter almond oil. What is less obvious, though, is that benzaldehyde is also the primary component of cherry flavor. Accordingly, benzaldehyde is a very common flavoring agent in many foods. Although can be synthesized, it also occurs very frequently in nature. The source of natural occurring benzaldehyde is amygdalin in plants: the enzyme catalyzed breaking down of amygdalin will yield benzaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and two glucose. Benzaldehyde can be produced by reacting cinnamaldehyde with a base, a process called retro-aldol reaction.
Innovation in food engineering: new techniques and products. Passos, Maria Laura., Ribeiro, Claudio P. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. 2010. p. 87. ISBN 9781420086072. OCLC 500683261