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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Aroma of Fresh Field Tomatoes

Authors
item Mayer, Florian - USDA VISITING SCIENTIST
item Takeoka, Gary
item Buttery, Ron - RETIRED
item Nam, Youngla - ALUMNI
item Naim, Michael - HEBREW UNIV, JERUSALEM
item Bezman, Yair - HEBREW UNIV, JERUSALEM
item Rabinowitch, Haim - HEBREW UNIV, JERUSALEM

Submitted to: American Chemical Society Annual Meeting Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 3, 2003
Publication Date: March 2, 2002
Citation: Mayer, F., Takeoka, G.R., Buttery, R.G., Nam, Y., Naim, M., Bezman, Y., Rabinowitch, H. 2002. Aroma of fresh field tomatoes. ACS Symposium Series 836, Freshness and Shelf Life of Foods, p. 144-161.

Interpretive Summary: The tomato is the second largest vegetable crop in dollar value in the U.S. Advances in agrotechniques, genetics and breeding have resulted in a tremendous increase in both yield and shelf-life. The latter resulted from introducing ripening inhibitor genes which adversely affects flavor. In recent years, consumer complaints about poorly flavored tomatoes are quite common in the U.S. Although sugar acid content, texture and color are very important, the aroma content of tomatoes is considered a major quality trait for which any batch of tomatoes is purchased or rejected. This study investigated the flavor characteristics of two tomato cultivars, one highly accepted and one less accepted by consumers. The following compounds were found to be important contributors to fresh tomato flavor: (Z)-3-hexenal, hexanal, 1-penten-3-one, 2-phenylethanol, (E)-2-hexenal, phenylacetaldehyde and B-ionone, B-damascenone, 4-hydroxy-2,5-dimethyl-3-(2H)-furanone, methional, 1-octen-3-one, guaiacol, (E,E)- and (E,Z)-2,4-decadienal and trans- and cis-4,5-epoxy-(E)-2-decenal. Large differences were found between the two cultivars in the concentrations of methional, phenylacetaldehyde, 1-penten-3-one and 4-hydroxy-2,5-dimethyl-3-(2H)-furanone which may be responsible for the difference in consumer preference.

Technical Abstract: For the identification of the character impact odorants of fresh field tomatoes the method of aroma extract dilution analysis was applied to several different tomato cultivars. This resulted in finding 20 odorants with flavor dilution (FD)-factors larger than 1, which seem to contribute to the flavor of fresh tomato. Among these were (Z)-3-hexenal, hexanal, 1-penten-3-one, 2-phenylethanol, (E)-2-hexenal, phenylacetaldehyde and B-ionone, but also B-damascenone, 4-hydroxy-2,5-dimethyl-3-(2H)-furanone, methional, 1-octen-3-one, guaiacol, (E,E)- and (E,Z)-2,4-decadienal and trans- and cis-4,5-epoxy-(E)-2-decenal, some of which have been underestimated so far. One previously unknown flavor compound in fresh tomato aroma was identified as (Z)-1,5-octadien-3-one. Solvent assisted flavor evaporation was found to be the most suitable method for the quantification of tomato odorants. The concentrations of all important odorants were determined in two different tomato cultivars and the odor units were calculated. The biggest differences between the two cultivars were found in the concentrations and odor units of methional, phenylacetaldehyde, 1-penten-3-one and 4-hydroxy-2, 5-dimethyl-3-(2H)-furanone.

Last Modified: 12/28/2014