||<p/>Volatile constituents of white bread were investigated. Different methods were used for isolating and concentrating components to avoid artefacts as far as possible. Especially good was enlarged vapour analysis. Ninety-four components were identified, including hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, acids, esters as well as nitrogen, sulphur and miscellaneous compounds. The concentration of the main components in the vapour above white bread was determined by direct vapour analysis. The odour threshold values of these components in aqueous solution were determined, and the odour values calculated as the ratio of concentration to odour threshold value to estimate their contribution to the total odour. The Maillard reaction of the cysteine/cystine-ribose system was investigated in a search for components which can be expected in heat-processed food products, and to find out whether during this reaction compounds possessing bread-like odours were formed. Forty-five components were identified, including thiophenes, thiazoles, thiols, pyrazines, pyrroles, amines, furans, aldehydes, ketones and miscellaneous compounds. Possible pathways for the formation of 2-acylthiazoles and of 3-methyl, and 5-methyl substituted 2-formylthiophenes are proposed.