Taste Panel Perception of Sweetness and Sweetness Acceptability Compared to High Pressure Liquid Chromatography Analysis of Sucrose and Total Sugars Among Three Phenotypes (su, se, and sh2) at Varying Maturities of Fresh Sweet Corn

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Clemson University, Coastal Research and Education Center, 2700 Savannah Highway, Charleston, SC 29414
  • | 2 Clemson University, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, 224 Poole Agricultural Center, Clemson, SC 29634.

Increased value of fresh sweet corn (Zea mays) during the last decade has lead to increased interest into the characteristics that increase marketability. Sweetness was examined over three phenotypes (su, se, and sh2) to determine if there was an optimum phenotype or cultivar within a phenotype. Each phenotype was isolated to prevent cross-pollinization. Cultivars were grown on sandy loam soil located at the Clemson University Coastal Research and Education Center (Charleston, S.C.). Early, mature, and late harvest dates were also evaluated to determine the optimal harvest date(s) for maximum flavor. High performance liquid chromatography was used to determine sucrose, fructose, glucose, and total sugars. Panelists' evaluation of sweetness and its acceptability significantly correlated with the high performance liquid chromatography analysis for sucrose and total sugars (sweetness, R = 0.70 and 0.61; acceptability, R = 0.64 and 0.55). Sucrose correlated with the total sugars (R = 0.95). As maturity increased, the ability of the taste panel to identify differences in phenotypes also increased. Although sucrose and total sugar levels were different between se, sh2, and su, taste panelists indicated no difference between se and sh2. Sh2 cultivars were considered sweet and acceptable on all harvest dates, but su was only acceptable to panelists at early maturity.

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