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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Aroma Volatile Profiles from Ripe Tomato Are Influenced by Physiological Maturity at Harvest: An Application for Electronic Nose Technology

Authors
item Maul, F - U FL GCREC
item Sargent, S - UNIV OF FLORIDA
item Balaban, M - UNIV OF FLORIDA
item Baldwin, Elizabeth
item Huber, D - UNIV OF FLORIDA
item Sims, C - UNIV OF FLORIDA

Submitted to: American Society for Horticultural Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 26, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Tomato flavor is made up of sugars, acids and aroma volatiles. Due to the poor relationship between tomato fruit appearance and its eating quality, testing of internal quality indicators such as aroma compounds was conducted using "electronic nose" technology in addition to other traditional techniques. The "electronic nose" has a sensor array that transmits signals to a computer analogous to human nose receptors sending signals to the brain. Differences between samples can then be distinguished based on their "smell" as was the case of tomatoes that were harvested at different stages of maturity. Measurement of individual aroma compounds by traditional chromatographic techniques showed that the least mature fruit at harvest had lower levels of many aroma components explaining the differences detected by the "electronic nose".

Technical Abstract: The effect of physiological maturity at harvest on ripe tomato aroma volatile profiles was studied using ripening response time (in days) to 100 uL/L exogenous ethylene treatment as tool to separate immature- from mature-green fruit. The Electronic Nose (NE) sensor array and gas chromatograph (GC) analyses were utilized to document volatile profile changes in the fruit that required a 1-, 3-, or 5-day ethylene treatment to reach the breaker stage. This was tested for intact fruit and fruit homogenate as well as individual fruit tissues. Whole tomato homogenate showed significantly higher levels of 5 important volatile compounds in the most mature fruit compared to least mature and a similar trend was observed in the individual tissues. Pericap tissue produced an average of 219% greater volatile levels of 16 volatile compounds compared to locular gel.

Last Modified: 10/26/2014