Submitted to: American Chemical Society Symposium Series
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/5/2008
Publication Date: 8/28/2008
Citation: Takeoka, G.R., Felker, P., Prokopiuk, D., Dao, L.T. Volatile constituents of mesquite (prosopis) pods. American Chemical Society Symposium Series 988, Chapter 9:98-108.
Interpretive Summary: Mesquite (Prosopis spp.) are woody leguminous plants that belong to the family Leguminosae and grow in arid and semiarid regions of America, Africa, and Asia. Most people in the U.S. know mesquite for the flavor the smoke imparts to grilled steaks and seafood. However, the plant has attracted attention due to its ability to tolerate high temperatures and low rainfall, its capacity to grow in saline soil and its ability to fix nitrogen. Prosopis spp. produce pods that contain 13 to 50% sugar, 27 to 32% dietary fiber and 11 to 17% protein. The pods can be milled to produce flour which is sold commercially and is used in pastries and baked goods. The pods and flour have a cinnamon, café mocha and coconut aroma. The goal of our study was to elucidate what volatiles are responsible for these pleasant sensory attributes. We identified many important flavor constituents and these results will lead to greater acceptability of mesquite pods as a food source.
Technical Abstract: Mesquite is the common name in North America for leguminous desert plants of the genus Prosopis that has about 44 species native to North America, South America, Africa and South Asia. Mesquite pods were a major food source of indigenous people in the semi deserts of North and South America before the arrival of Europeans. The pods, which contain about 10% protein and 10-40% sucrose, have a cinnamon, café mocha and coconut aroma. Volatiles were isolated from mesquite pods by closed loop dynamic headspace sampling. A total of 121 volatiles were identified (14 of which were tentatively identified) using GC and GC/MS.