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  • Author or Editor: Adam D’Angelo x
  • HortScience x
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Consumers perceive flavor as a critically important attribute of vegetable crops. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), spectrophotometry, and refractometry of tissue samples collected during multiple years from table beet (Beta vulgaris) at various stages of maturity were performed to characterize the endogenous production of geosmin, oxalic acid, and total dissolved solids within the root. The geosmin concentration was primarily influenced by the cultivar and peaked early during the growing season, with root concentrations at 6 weeks after planting that were 312% higher, on average, than those found in harvest stage roots at 15 weeks after planting. The highest average concentration of geosmin in harvest stage roots was detected in tissue from the cultivar Bull’s Blood (16.08 μg⋅kg−1). The oxalic acid concentration showed a strong cultivar influence and statistically significant variability across the growing season. Hybrid beet cultivar Boro had the lowest soluble oxalic acid concentration (95.73 mg⋅100 g−1 fresh tissue) at all locations and during all years. The oxalic acid concentration peaked 12 weeks after planting, and it was lower at the postharvest sampling date 18 weeks after planting. Total dissolved solids (TDS) concentrations were strongly influenced by year and growing environment and displayed crossover interactions for environment × week. TDS measurements had a moderate negative correlation with root mass. ‘Chioggia Guardsmark’ consistently had the highest TDS during all years and at all locations at 12.01 °Brix. The TDS varied significantly according to time, and diurnal sampling revealed fluctuations as large as 4 °Brix over the course of a 12-hour period. The TDS concentrations increased throughout the growing season, although the rate at which they increased changed according to plant age. The results from this study suggest that interactions between cultivar, time, and environment are important determinants of oxalic acid and TDS concentrations, but they have less influence on geosmin. This information may influence the methods that plant breeders use to collect phenotypic data of important flavor compounds in beets.

Open Access