Methanethiol Production by Brassica Vegetables Held in Anaerobic Atmospheres

in HortScience

Methanethiol (MT) is a volatile compound responsible for the strong off-odor that is evolved when fresh broccoli is held under anaerobic atmospheres. Inductive atmospheres can develop in modified-atmosphere packages, resulting in reduced quality. To determine if related vegetables are capable of producing MT, 12 different vegetables from the genus Brassica were cut into ready-to-eat forms. Fifty-gram samples of these cut vegetables were sealed in 500-ml glass jars and flushed with N2. After flushing, jars were held for 24 h at 20C in the dark. Headspace samples from the jars then were analyzed for MT and other volatiles using a GC-MS> The concentration of MT was greatest in jars containing broccoli florets. Broccoli flower buds removed from florets produced 40 times more MT than peduncle and stem tissues (38.3 vs. 0.87 mmol·m–3). Headspace concentration of MT (mmol·m–3) in jars containing these different vegetables was: broccoli florets, 22.7; pak choi leaf blades, 17.8; savoy cabbage, 12.4; broccoflower, 7.5; green storage cabbage, 5.2; red cabbage, 2.7; kale, 0.81; Brussels sprouts, 0.36; pak choi petioles, 0.28; rutabaga root, 0.26; cauliflower florets, 0.18; Chinese cabbage, 0.03; and kohlrabi tubers, 0.02. In addition to MT, ethanol, dimethyl disulfide, and dimethyl trisulfide were detected in the headspace over each of the 12 vegetables. The contribution of these induced compounds to off-odor development in packaged, precut vegetables will be discussed.

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