Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) fruit, cvs. Sunny and Solar Set, were analyzed at five ripening stages for ethylene and CO2 production. Homogenates from the same fruit were prepared for determination of color, flavor volatiles, sugars, and organic acids. Changes in the levels of these compounds were compared to the pattern of climacteric ethylene production. Of the flavor volatiles measured, only eugenol decreased during ripening in both cultivars and 1-penten-3-one in `Sunny' tomatoes. Ethanol and trans-2-trans- 4-decadienal levels showed no change or fluctuated as the fruit ripened while all other volatiles measured (cis- 3-hexenol, acetaldehyde, cis- 3-hexenal, trans-2- hexenal, hexenal acetone, 6-methyl-5 -hepten-2-one, geranylacetone, and 2-isobutylthiazole) increased in concentration, peaking in the turning, pink, or red stage of maturity. Synthesis of some volatile compounds occurred simultaneously with that of climacteric ethylene, CO2 and lycopene production. `Solar Set' fruit exhibited higher levels than `Sunny' of all flavor components except ethanol and hexanal in the red stage. There were no differences in organic acid levels between the cultivars; however, `Solar Set' had higher levels of sugars. Changes in acid and sugar levels showed no temporal relationship to climacteric ethylene or CO2 production.
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