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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wenatchee, Washington » Physiology and Pathology of Tree Fruits Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #222192

Title: Measuring consumer response to 'Gala' apples treated with 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP)

item Mattheis, James

Submitted to: Postharvest Biology and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/3/2008
Publication Date: 7/22/2008
Citation: Marin, A.B., Colonna, A.E., Kupferman, E.M., Mattheis, J.P. 2008. Measuring consumer response to 'Gala' apples treated with 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP). Postharvest Biology and Technology.

Interpretive Summary: Flavor and aroma are key components determining consumer preference for apple fruit. Many factors influence the production of compounds that contribute to flavor and aroma including fruit ripeness when harvested and postharvest handling and storage practices. Treatments that decrease formation of ethylene, a gas produced naturally by fruit that promotes ripening, slow ripening but can also reduce production of flavor and aroma compounds. In this study, fruit that had been exposed to a compound that reduces ethylene production were compared with untreated fruit to determine if consumers could tell a difference. Although a high percentage of the tasters identified fruit from different treatments, no accompanying difference in preference was evident. The results indicate a wide range of acceptability for apple flavor in fresh fruit.

Technical Abstract: Post-harvest apple treatment with 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) was previously found to inhibit fruit ripening but also to inhibit the production of volatile compounds that contribute to apple flavor. The first objective of this study was to determine if consumers could distinguish 1-MCP-treated and untreated Gala apples [Malus sylvestris L. (Mill.) var. domestica Borkh. Mansf.] following long term storage. Chemical analysis showed 1-MCP-treated fruit had reduced flavor volatiles compared to untreated fruit. Consumer difference tests showed they could distinguish between 1-MCP-treated and untreated fruit. A second objective was to compare consumers’ acceptance for 1-MCP-treated to untreated apples. Both 1-MCP-treated and untreated apples received high overall liking scores that were not significantly different. Equal numbers of consumers indicated preference for 1-MCP-treated and untreated fruit and there was no difference in purchase intent. However, subsets of consumers who eat Gala, Fuji or Red Delicious apples showed preference for untreated over 1-MCP-treated fruit compared to consumers who do not eat these varieties.