|UPPILI, BHAVANA - North Carolina State University
|LAFOUNTAIN, LISA - Former ARS Employee
Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/9/2023
Publication Date: 11/3/2023
Citation: Uppili, B., LaFountain, L.J., Johanningsmeier, S.D. 2023. A sensory lexicon to characterize the quality of fresh and preserved peppers. Journal of Food Science. 88:5216-5235. https://doi.org/10.1111/1750-3841.16814.
Interpretive Summary: Pepper fruits (Capsicum annuum) such as bell peppers, banana peppers, and jalapenos are economically important commodities worldwide due to their unique sensory profiles and rich antioxidant properties. However, quality deterioration during storage of fresh and processed peppers limits shelf-life and availability for consumption. This work established a vocabulary for describing the quality traits of fresh and processed peppers. The resulting sensory lexicon is comprised of 46 clearly defined terms that describe the aroma, flavor, and texture of peppers and provides a standardized basis for quality evaluation. This lexicon is a valuable tool that can be used by breeders and processors to guide the development of new varieties and innovative processing technologies for improved pepper products.
Technical Abstract: Pepper fruits (Capsicum annuum) are economically important commodities worldwide due to their unique sensory profiles and rich antioxidant properties. With ongoing research efforts in optimizing the production and processing of peppers, there is a need for a standardized tool to evaluate the quality of peppers and pepper products. The objective of this work was to develop a sensory lexicon to characterize fresh and preserved peppers. A panel of 10 volunteerswas recruited and trained in quantitative descriptive sensory analysis for a total of 37 h. Commercially available fresh, pickled, and roasted peppers were used to establish definitions, methods of evaluation, and reference materials for each unique attribute; and attribute intensities were scored on a scale ranging from 0 to 15. Commercially available fresh and preserved pepper samples (n=22) were evaluated by the panel in duplicate to validate the lexicon. Principal component analysis was used to visualize differences among the products, and attribute redundancies were evaluated through analysis of correlations. This lexicon with 46 clearly defined terms that describe fresh, pickled, and roasted pepper products is comprised of 14 aroma, 19 flavor, 9 texture, and 4 chemesthetic attributes.Smoky, burnt, and cooked tomato flavors were typical of roasted red bell peppers, while the floral attribute was characteristic of fresh red bell peppers, and vinegar, pungency, and spicy notes characterized pickled peppers. The lexicon enabled the characterization and differentiation of a wide range of pepper products and lays the framework for quality evaluation and product improvement.