Juice Taste Even Better
September 15, 2004
Producing reconstituted orange
juice that tastes as good as the fresh-squeezed product is the goal of
Agricultural Research Service scientists
in Winter Haven, Fla. The key is finding the blend of flavor compounds--well
over 40 of them--that impart the taste that most consumers prefer.
The scientists are based at the ARS Citrus and Subtropical Products
Laboratory. ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.
Kevin Goodner, who leads the project, is working with laboratory research
leader Elizabeth Baldwin and research associate Anne Plotto to develop
information about the thresholds of so-called flavor impact aroma compounds
that make fresh-squeezed orange juice taste so good. A threshold is the level
at which a compound can be detected by smell or taste.
Florida growers annually harvest an average of more than 200 million
90-pound boxes of oranges. About 80 percent of the oranges are processed,
mostly into juice.
Juice processors generally squeeze the fresh oranges and use evaporators to
remove much of the water. Condensed juice is easier and cheaper to transport or
to freeze. While the evaporative process also strips off the aroma compounds
responsible for the juice's fresh-squeezed taste, processors capture and blend
these compounds into "flavor pack" mixtures. Later, juice-processing
companies purchase and add these flavor packs back to frozen, concentrated
juice, along with water, before marketing the reconstituted juice.
To help develop higher-quality flavor packs that more closely mimic fresh
juice flavor, volunteers have been enlisted to sample reconstituted juices
containing various orange juice flavor compound mixtures. Making less-expensive
juice with fresh-squeezed flavor would improve the desirability of
U.S.-processed orange juice and help it compete in the global marketplace.
Florida's citrus industry employs more than 100,000 people and contributes
$8 billion a year to the state's economy.
more about this research in the September 2004 issue of Agricultural