1,1-Ethanedithiol is a colourless but smelly liquid with formula CH3CH(SH)2. The odour is described as meaty, rubbery or like durian, and it is found in durian also. It can be produced during fermentation of grapes. It is used as a food flavouring.
Flavouring uses of ethane-1,1-dithiol may include drinks, oil, gravy, soup, meat, fruit, seasonings, and snacks. Maximum concentrations in use that are generally recognised as safe (GRAS) is five parts per million (ppm) but typical uses are around 0.2 ppm. It is supplied as a 1% solution in ethanol, due to its strong offensive smell. In the diluted form with 4% ethyl acetate and ethanol the CAS number is 69382-62-3. Toxicity may be due to metabolism products hydrogen sulfide and acetaldehyde, however as used it has a margin of safety of over 10,000,000. Other ways that it is modified in the body apart from hydrolysis is methylation to 1-methylsulfanyl-ethanethiol, oxidation of the sulfur to an ethyl sulfonate, glucuronidation of the sulfur, or combination with cysteine by way of a disulfide bridge.
Since it is used in the food industry there are codes issued by various authorities. It is identified as JECFA number 1660. The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) id is 4111. The European designation for the flavouring is Fl 12.293.
It is found naturally in the scent of durian.
The nuclear magnetic resonance spectrum shows that there are three environments for protons, in the ratio of 3:2:1 corresponding to CH3 SH and CH.
1,1-Ethanedithiol has several reactions known that are important in white wine flavours. In the presence of oxygen, 1,1-ethanedithiol is converted to cis/trans-3,6-dimethyl-1,2,4,5-tetrathiane which has a rubbery aroma. This molecule has a ring with four sulfur atoms and two carbons, two 1,1-ethanedithiol molecules become linked at their sulfur atoms with the loss of hydrogen. This can further oxidise to cis/trans-3,6-dimethyl-1,2,5-trithiolane which has a meat-like odour.
1,1-Ethanedithiol reacts with hydrogen sulfide to form cis/trans-4,7-dimethyl-1,2,3,5,6-pentathiepane, a ring containing five sulfur atoms and two carbons. This has a meaty smell.
1,1-Ethanedithiol can be formed in the reaction of acetaldehyde with hydrogen sulfide. 1-Hydroxyethanethiol is formed as an intermediary.