Volatile Compound Profiles of Malus baccata and Malus prunifolia Wild Apple Fruit

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Volatile compounds have a tremendous impact on fruit quality. We evaluated the volatile compound profiles of ripening wild apple fruit (10 Malus baccata accessions and three Malus prunifolia accessions) in the National Field Genebank for Hardy Fruits at Gongzhuling, China. Alcohols, esters, aldehydes, terpenes, hydrocarbons, ethers, heterocycles, carboxylic acids, and ketones were detected in the M. baccata and M. prunifolia fruit, with the first four being the main volatile compounds present. Of the 92 volatiles detected, esters were the most diverse (49 compounds). This wide range of abundant volatile compounds suggests that M. prunifolia is a good resource for breeding apple cultivars with novel and interesting flavors. The M. baccata accession ‘Zhaai Shandingzi’ and the M. prunifolia accession ‘Bai Haitang’ had the widest range of volatile compounds and the highest volatile compound contents of the accessions examined, and will therefore be good breeding materials for developing commercial lines with enhanced flavor and for widening the genetic diversity. The number of different ester compounds present was significantly positively correlated (r = 0.877) with the cube root of the weight of an individual ripe fruit. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that the contents of ester compounds could be used to distinguish between M. baccata and M. prunifolia species. Therefore, ester compounds could be used as a reference of parental choice in apple breeding.

Contributor Notes

This work was supported by a Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (201303093).

C. Zhang and X. Chen designed the experiment, performed the study, and drafted the manuscript. H. Song and Y. Liang determined the volatile compound contents of fruits. C. Zhao and H. Li analyzed data and helped to draft the manuscript. All of the authors read and approved the final version of this manuscript.

Corresponding author. E-mail: chunyuzhang1979@126.com.

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    Ripe fruit of (A) Malus baccata and (B) Malus prunifolia and (C) their weights. M. baccata accessions are abbreviated as follows: B1 = ‘Duanba Shandingzi’, B2 = ‘Benyuandaguo Shandingzi’, B3 = ‘Benzaodaguo Shandingzi’, B4 = ‘No. 3 Shandingzi’, B5 = ‘No. 5 Shandingzi’, B6 = ‘No. 6 Shandingzi’, B7 = ‘No. 7 Shandingzi’, B8 = ‘No. 8 Shandingzi’, B9 = ‘Xiaosuanguo’, and B10 = ‘Zhaai Shandingzi’; M. prunifolia accessions are abbreviated as follows: P1 = ‘Bai Haitang’, P2 = ‘Xiaohuang Haitang’, and P3 = ‘Bian Haitang’. The vertical bar represents ±se of the mean of 30 fruit. Different letters above the bars indicate significant differences at P ≤ 0.05 based on Duncan’s test.

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    The main volatile compound categories and their contents in Malus baccata and Malus prunifolia fruit by static headspace and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The values represent the mean of three independent biological replicates (±se). Different letters indicate significant differences among compound contents at same accession at P ≤ 0.05 based on Duncan’s test.

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    Regression analysis between number of volatile compounds and the cube root of ripe fruit weight from 10 Malus baccata accessions (‘Duanba Shandingzi’, ‘Xiaosuanguo’, ‘Zhaai Shandingzi’, ‘Benyuandaguo Shandingzi’, ‘Benzaodaguo Shandingzi’, ‘No. 3 Shandingzi’, ‘No. 5 Shandingzi’, ‘No. 6 Shandingzi’, ‘No. 7 Shandingzi’, and ‘No. 8 Shandingzi’) and three Malus prunifolia accessions (‘Bai Haitang’, ‘Xiaohuang Haitang’, and ‘Bian Haitang’). Volatile compounds were detected by static headspace and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry from ripe fruit as three technical replicates each with three independent biological replicates. Fruit weight was average weight of 30 fruit.

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    Principal component (PC) analysis of the volatile compound contents. The first two principal components are shown (PC1 and PC2). Volatile compound contents were measured by static headspace and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry from ripe fruit as three technical replicates each with three independent biological replicates. Malus baccata accessions are abbreviated as follows: B1 = ‘Duanba Shandingzi’, B2 = ‘Benyuandaguo Shandingzi’, B3 = ‘Benzaodaguo Shandingzi’, B4 = ‘No. 3 Shandingzi’, B5 = ‘No. 5 Shandingzi’, B6 = ‘No. 6 Shandingzi’, B7 = ‘No. 7 Shandingzi’, B8 = ‘No. 8 Shandingzi’, B9 = ‘Xiaosuanguo’, and B10 = ‘Zhaai Shandingzi’; Malus prunifolia accessions are abbreviated as follows: P1 = ‘Bai Haitang’, P2 = ‘Xiaohuang Haitang’, and P3 = ‘Bian Haitang’. The two species were separated into two populations at the second principal component according to total volatile compound contents or ester contents. The circle meant that three M. prunifolia accessions were clustered together.

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