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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Food Science Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #81750


item McFeeters, Roger

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/26/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The volatile components in foods are responsible for the odors of the foods, both good and bad. These volatile components usually are an important part of the overall flavor, despite the fact that they are usually present at very low concentrations in foods. The purpose of this work was to develop a method to sample and then identify volatile compounds present during and after fermentation of cucumbers at low-salt concentrations. We identified 38 volatiles compounds in the fermented cucumbers. Many of these compounds were present in fresh cucumbers, and they did not change during fermentation. However, the ability of cucumber tissue to produce the two compounds which are known to be the most important factors in fresh cucumber flavor is nearly eliminated during fermentation. This may be one important reason why the flavor of fermented cucumbers is very different from fresh cucumbers. A few compounds increased substantially during fermentation. However, further work is required to discover whether the compounds that increase are important contributors to fermented cucumber flavor. The broad objective of this work was to reduce the amount of salt required for cucumber fermentation. Less salt during fermentation will reduce the pollution produced by current fermentation operations. However, we must make sure that processing changes do not negatively affect the flavor quality of the fermented cucumbers. This work is one step toward this goal.

Technical Abstract: Volatile compounds present in cucumbers fermented in 2% salt were analyzed using purge and trap concentration followed by GC-MS. Thirty-eight volatile compounds were identified from over 100 peaks detected using GC/MS. Most of the identified compounds did not change during fermentation. However, the ability of disrupted cucumber tissue to produce (E,Z)-2,6-nonadienal and 2-nonenal, the two most important volatiles in fresh cucumber odor, decreased during fermentation. In addition, linalool increased to levels several times its odor threshold during the first 10 days of fermentation.