Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #159827


item Baldwin, Elizabeth - Liz
item Goodner, Kevin
item Plotto, Anne

Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/14/2004
Publication Date: 10/14/2004
Citation: Baldwin, E.A., Goodner, K.L. ,Plotto, A., Pritchett, K., Einstein, M. 2004. Effect of volatiles and their concentration on perception of tomato descriptors. Journal of Food Science. 69(8):S310-S318.

Interpretive Summary: Tomato fruit in supermarkets do not live up to consumers' standards since consumers have experience with backyard, vine-ripened tomatoes. Over 400 aroma compounds have been identified in tomato, of which around 30 are thought to contribute to tomato flavor. This study is aimed at determining the role of these volatile compounds in tomato flavor so that tomato breeders and molecular biologists will have a target for flavor improvement. It was found that volatiles contributing to green, earthy, musty, fruity and floral notes were most important.

Technical Abstract: The contribution of volatiles to tomato flavor is little understood. Coarse chop deodorized tomato puree was spiked with one to three levels of individual food grade volatiles reported to contribute to tomato flavor, and presented to a trained descriptive panel for flavor analysis. Based on descriptors resulting from these individual aroma compounds, volatiles were then grouped based on similarities of descriptors and again added to bland homogenate at three different levels and presented to the panel. Six to eight panelists rated 5 aroma, 6 taste and 3 after-taste descriptors on a 15 cm unstructured line scale. Positive correlations were found for the 'earthy' mix (3-methylbutanol, 3-methylbutanal, 2-isobutylthiazole) with overall, green, vine, earthy and musty aromas, and a negative correlation with sweet aroma. The 'green' mix (hexanal, trans-2-hexenal, trans-2-heptenal, cis-3-hexenal, cis-3-hexenol) correlated positively with overall and musty aroma, as well as overall aftertaste. The 'fruity' mix (acetaldehyde, 2-phenylethanol, B-ionone, geranylacetone, acetone, linalool, citral, 1-penten-3-one, ethanol, furaneol, and 6-methyl-5-hepten-3 one) showed significant positive correlations with overall, sweet tomato and tropical aromas, and a negative correlation to musty aroma, as well as positive correlations to sweet and fruity tastes, and a negative correlation to sour and bitter tastes. Principal component analysis (PCA) was performed on means across panelists. Three factors were extracted, explaining 27.2, 16.6 and 11.7% of the variation, and spiking with 2-isobutylthiazole, 'earthy' mixes, 1-penten-3-one, and 'green' mixes resulted in drivers for high loading on the earthy and green descriptors. The 'fruity 'mixes, furaneol and 2-phenylethanol were drivers for high loading on sweet and floral aroma.