Instrumental and Sensory Analysis of Tomato Flavor

in HortScience

Sugars, acids, and flavor volatiles are components of flavor that have been measured instrumentally, revealing differences among tomato cultigens. For objective measurements to be useful, however, they need to relate to sensory data. In this study, objective and sensory analyses of tomato flavor were compared. Seven tomato cultigens were ranked for sweetness, sourness, and flavor and rated for overall acceptability by a panel of 32 experienced judges. Sucrose equivalents (SE), measured by HPLC, but not soluble solids correlated with sweetness at P = 0.10. In addition, SE highly correlated with flavor (P = 0.03), while titratable acidity (TA) negatively correlated with overall acceptability (P = 0.03). Regression analysis indicated that 2+3-methylbutanol, cis-3-hexenal, and 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one significantly contributed to flavor at a 5% level of significance. It is apparent from this study that sucrose equivalents are more meaningful than soluble solids for measurement of sweetness, and that certain flavor volatiles play a role in tomato flavor.

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