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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #289292

Title: The flavor of citrus fruit

item PORAT, RON - Volcani Center (ARO)
item DETERRE, SOPHIE - Agro Paris Tech
item GIAMPAOLI, PIERRE - Agro Paris Tech
item Plotto, Anne

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2013
Publication Date: 8/1/2016
Citation: Porat, R., Deterre, S., Giampaoli, P., Plotto, A. 2016. The flavor of citrus fruit. Book Chapter. Chapter 1. In Havkin-Frenkel, D. and Dudai, N. (eds.) Biotechnology in Flavor Production. 2nd edition. Oxford:Wiley p.1-31.

Interpretive Summary: Citrus fruit have a very unique set of chemical components that contribute to their flavor. Volatile compounds include terpene hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, esters, ketones, and they are stored in the oil glands of the fruit peel. They are recovered during juice extraction and used as citrus essential oil in food flavoring and cosmetic and perfume industry. Other compounds contributing to the taste of citrus fruit and juice include sugars (glucose, fructose, sucrose), acids (mainly citric) and some bitter flavonoids and limonoids (naringin in grapefruit, limonin in oranges). Citrus flavor in fresh fruit change during storage and techniques are developed to maintain freshness as well as flavor. Genes that control flavor production are becoming known and genetic manipulation can be used as a tool in citrus breeding to target specific flavor components.

Technical Abstract: Citrus is the largest cultivated fruit tree crop in the world, with total production of more than 100 million tons per year. The genus Citrus consists of different species, including several producing economically important crops, such as oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, pummelo, lemons and limes, commercially used for fresh consumption and juice manufacturing. Furthermore, citrus peel provides a main source for industrial production of essential oils used in the food, juice, perfume and pharmaceutical industries. The perceived flavor of citrus fruit comes from the combination of various taste, aroma and mouth-feel sensations. The taste of citrus fruit results from sensation of sweet, sour and bitter attributes, governed by the presence of sugars (glucose, fructose and sucrose), organic acids (mainly citric acid) and bitter compounds, such as naringin and limonin. The aroma of citrus fruit evolves from a mixture of various fruity, floral, terpeney, citrus, green/grassy, fatty, metallic, herbal, mushroom and other notes, resulting from the presence of dozens and hundreds of volatiles belonging to several chemical classes including terpenes, aldehydes, alcohols, esters, ketones, etc. The current chapter will discuss the biochemical components involved in creating the flavor of citrus fruit and essential oils.