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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Food Quality Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #336631

Research Project: Evaluation and Maintenance of Flavor, Nutritional and Other Quality Attributes of Fresh and Fresh-Cut Produce

Location: Food Quality Laboratory

Title: Consumer preference and physicochemical evaluation of muskmelon grown under organic production in Maryland

item Park, Eunhee
item BOLTEN, SAMANTHA - University Of Maryland
item MARIEN, SASHA - University Of Maryland
item EVERTS, KATHRYNE - University Of Maryland
item MICALLEF, SHIRLEY - University Of Maryland
item Stommel, John
item Luo, Yaguang - Sunny

Submitted to: Postharvest Biology and Technology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2018
Publication Date: 3/21/2018
Citation: Park, E., Bolten, S., Marien, S., Reed-Jones, N., Everts, K., Micallef, S., Luo, Y. 2018. Consumer preference and physicochemical evaluation of muskmelon grown under organic production in Maryland. Postharvest Biology and Technology. 141:77-85.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The market for organic products has grown rapidly along with increased consumer demand and global organic trends since the 1990's. Organic muskmelons (Cucumis melo), in particular, are a valuable crop for producers and local economic growth. Unfortunately, many muskmelon cultivars are not easily adapted to organic production. In order to identify the best cultivars for production in Maryland and to obtain information regarding the marketability of organically-grown muskmelon cultivars in this region, physicochemical and consumer eating quality assessments are needed. This study assessed the eating quality of four muskmelon cultivars: 'Athena', 'Sivan', 'Dulce', and 'Juane' grown under organic farming practices in Maryland and evaluated over a two-year period. Sensory attributes including appearance, texture, flavor, and overall acceptability were assessed using a trained panel in the first year (n=10) and consumer test in the second year (n=120). Instrumental analysis of physicochemical parameters including flesh color, texture, soluble solid content, pH, and titratable acidity was also performed. Statistical analyses included multiple comparisons of consumer preference and physicochemical data among muskmelon cultivars. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated and preference maps constructed to model relationships among melon traits and cultivars. Among all varieties, a strong correlation was obtained between overall quality and flavor acceptability(r=0.94). The acceptability was also positively correlated with sweetness(r=0.68) and fruity flavor intensity(r=0.64), while negatively correlated with sourness (r=-0.44) and green flavor (r=-0.34). Juiciness of melon flesh as predicted through the visual perception of consumers was highly correlated to juiciness intensity of mouth feel (r=0.80). 'Sivan' and 'Athena', which were preferred for their texture, flavor and overall eating quality, showed relatively high SS contents and pH, and low TA, while 'Juane' showed low pH and high TA, and was less preferred for texture, flavor, and overall eating quality. 'Dulce' showed contradictory results across the 2 years. All physicochemical and consumer preference data on 'Sivan' showed no statistical difference across year. The results indicate that 'Sivan' may be a promising cultivar for organic production in Maryland fields.