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Title: Sensory and flavor evaluation of horticultural crops: citrus, strawberries and tomatoes

item Plotto, Anne

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/8/2010
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: All the efforts in producing a fruit, including breeding, growing, harvesting, storing and transporting, can only be valued if in the end, consumers like and buy the product. The USDA Citrus and Subtropical Products Laboratory collaborates with researchers at the University of Florida (UF) Department of Horticulture to understand and improve the quality of Florida-grown commodities. Quality evaluation includes taste panels, analysis of volatiles, sugars, acids, carotenoids, phenolic compounds and polysaccharides, all components of eating and/or nutritional quality. Of particular importance are quality evaluations of tomatoes, strawberries and tangerines from the UF breeding programs. For tomatoes and strawberries, consumer taste panels are performed at the University of Florida Research Gulf Coast research station. In these tests, 50 to 60 panelists are giving their opinion (liking) about the samples. Samples are also analyzed for flavor quality (volatiles, sugars, acids) in order to understand the chemical drivers of liking. These tests are by no means predictors of how a new variety will perform on the market. They only give indications about the quality of specific varieties, and may be considered as a preliminary screening for more extensive market studies. Another type of test is descriptive sensory analysis combined with chemical analysis. Such an approach was undertaken to identify flavor characteristics of tangerine hybrids and some strawberry selections; this helps understanding the chemical components underlying sensory characteristics. Finally, the use of gas-chromatography (GC) combined with olfactometry (O) of the effluents of the GC helps identifying aroma activity of specific volatiles compounds, and was used during flavor evaluation of tangerines from the breeding program.