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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Food Science and Market Quality and Handling Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #401934

Research Project: Improved Vegetable Processing Methods to Reduce Environmental Impact, Enhance Product Quality and Reduce Food Waste

Location: Food Science and Market Quality and Handling Research Unit

Title: Decision tree scoring system to guide selection for consumer preference in sweetpotato breeding trials

item NAKITTO, MARIAM - International Potato Center
item REUBEN, SSALI - International Potato Center
item Johanningsmeier, Suzanne
item MOYO, MUKANI - International Potato Centre
item DE KOCK, HENRIETTE - University Of Pretoria
item BERGET, INGUNN - Norwegian Institute For Food Research
item OKELLO, JULIUS - International Potato Center
item MAYANGA, SARAH - International Potato Center
item TINYIRO, SAMUEL EDGAR - National Agricultural Research Laboratories
item MENDES, THIAGO - International Potato Centre
item BUGAUD, CHRISTOPHE - Cirad, France

Submitted to: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/18/2023
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Sweetpotato is a nutritious root vegetable and a staple crop in some regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa, where the introduction of more orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes could help prevent vitamin A deficiency. The adoption of new sweetpotato varieties depends on market acceptance, so breeding tools that account for sensory characteristics of sweetpotato are needed for development of varieties with consumer-desired traits. Regional consumer studies were conducted to identify target values for sweet taste, sweetpotato aroma and flavor, firmness, and mealiness that relate to high overall liking and product acceptability. These target values were used to create a decision tree for obtaining an eating quality score for sweetpotato that can be used to facilitate selection of varieties from Ugandan sweetpotato breeding trials.

Technical Abstract: Background: A lexicon and protocol for quantitative descriptive analysis (QDA) was established for the sweetpotato breeding program in Uganda. However, the results are not easy to interpret when making breeding decisions. The current study aimed at developing a decision tree for obtaining an eating quality score for sweetpotato to facilitate demand-led targeted breeding selection. Results: Sensory characteristics of the final product namely mealy, sweet taste, good sweetpotato smell, firm and not fibrous had considerable benefit and posed no significant disadvantages for women implying that they were essential in the product profile. In two study districts, D20, NASPOT 8 and NAROSPOT 1 were most liked. NKB 3 and D11 were the least liked in Hoima, while Muwulu Aduduma was least liked in Kamuli. The sensory profiles of some genotypes based on quantitative descriptive analysis varied by growing region. There was a good positive correlation between color liking and overall liking. However, the correlation between any sensory attributes linked to color (rated by the trained panel) and color liking was poor. Target values for four sensory attributes rated by the trained panel that had good correlations with consumer acceptability measures (sweet taste, sweetpotato aroma and flavor, firmness, and mealiness) were proposed. These values were used to create a decision tree tool for calculating an eating quality selection index when screening lines in breeding programs. Conclusion: Decision trees that include consumer needs and gender considerations would facilitate demand-led breeding and make varietal selection in sweetpotato breeding programs more effective.