676 Effects of Volatiles on Postharvest Shelf Life and Quality

in HortScience
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  • 1 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre, 32 Main Street, Kentville, Nova Scotia B4N 1J5 Canada

Volatile compounds make a significant contribution to the quality and storage life of fresh strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Strawberry aroma is composed predominately of esters, although alcohols, ketones, and aldehydes are also present in smaller quantities. The major volatiles contributing to aroma include ethyl butanoate, 2,5-dimethyl-4-hydroxy-3(2H)-furanone, ethyl hexanoate, methyl butanoate, linalool, and methyl hexanoate. In lowbush (wild) blueberries, aroma is predominated by esters and alcohols including ethyl and methyl methylbutanoates, methyl butanoate, 2-ethyl-1-hexanol, and 3-buteneol, while highbush blueberry aroma is dominated by aromatic compounds, esters, terpenes and long chain alcohols. The aroma of raspberries is composed of a mixture of ketones and terpenes, including damascenone, ionone, geraniol, and linalool. The composition and concentration of these aroma compounds are affected by fruit maturity and storage conditions. As fruit ripen, the concentration of aroma volatiles rapidly increases. This increase in volatile synthesis closely follows pigment formation both on and off the plant. In strawberry fruit, volatile concentration increases about 4-fold in the 24-h period required for fruit to ripen from 50% red to fully red on the plant. In storage, volatile composition is affected by storage temperature, duration, and atmosphere. Postharvest holding temperature and concentrations of O2 and CO2 can alter the quantity and composition of aroma volatiles. The effects of postharvest environments on volatile composition will be discussed.