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  • Author or Editor: Fernando Maul x
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`Agriset-761' and `CPT-5' tomato fruits were harvested at green stage and subsequently exposed to a postharvest exogenous ethylene-air mixture (100 ppm C2H4 at 20°C). Tomatoes with visual symptoms of ripening (breaker stage = <10% red coloration) were removed from ethylene treatment after 1, 3, and 5 days and were transferred to 20°C and 85% RH. At “table-ripe” stage (full red coloration and 4-mm fruit deformation after 5 sec@9.8N), whole fruit samples were analyzed for difference/discrimination sensory evaluations, aroma volatile profiles, and chemical composition. Flavor of fruits gassed for 1 day was rated significantly different than that of fruits gassed for 3 or 5 days (n = 25 panelists) for both cultivars. Several panelists noted the perception of “rancid” and “metallic” tastes, and “lingering” aftertaste in fruits gassed for 5 days. Chemical composition assays showed that flavor differences could be partially due to a significant increase in pH values between fruits gassed for 1 and 5 days (4.23 and 4.34, respectively for `Agriset-761') and a significant decrease in titratable acidity (0.91% and 0.73%, respectively, for `Agriset-761'; 1.04% and 0.86%, respectively, for `CPT-5'). No significant differences in soluble solids content or total sugars were found in any treatments for either cultivar. `Agriset-761' showed significant increases in the concentrations of acetone, hexanal, 2+3 methylbutanol, and a decrease in 2-isobutylthiazole, whereas, `CPT-5' fruits showed significant increases in hexanal, 2+3 methylbutanol, trans-2-heptenal, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, 2-isobutylthiazole, β-ionone, geranylacetone, and a decrease is ethanol concentration. In both cultivars, these significant differences in important aroma volatile compounds could be of enormous relevance in the perception of off-flavor/off-odors.

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The effect of physiological maturity at harvest on ripe tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) volatile profiles was studied using ripening response time (in days) to 100 μL·L-1 exogenous ethylene treatment as a tool to separate immature-green from mature-green fruit. Electronic nose (EN) sensor array and gas chromatography (GC) analyses were used to document volatile profile changes in tomatoes that required a 1-, 3-, or 5-day ethylene treatment to reach the breaker stage. EN output analysis using multivariate discriminant and canonical analyses classified intact tomato and whole tomato homogenate samples that required 3 or 5 days of ethylene treatment as significantly different (P < 0.01) from those that required only 1 day. The GC aroma profiles from whole tomato homogenate showed that 1-day fruit had significantly higher levels (P < 0.05) of 1-penten-3-one, cis-3-hexenal, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, 2-isobutylthiazole, and geranylacetone when compared to 5-day fruit. Analysis of excised tomato tissues showed that pericarp (including columnella) produced an average 219% greater concentration of the 16 aroma volatiles quantified by GC when compared to locular gel (442 and 203 μL·L-1, respectively). EN analysis concurred with GC by showing greater average Mahalanobis distance between pericarp tissue groupings when compared to locular gel groupings (78.25 and 12.33 units, respectively). Pericarp tissue from the 5-day ethylene treatment showed significantly lower levels of 1-penten-3-one, trans-2-heptenal, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, 2-isobutylthiazole, geranylacetone, and β-ionone compared to the 1- and 3-day treatments, Similarly, locular gel from the 3- and 5-day ethylene treatments had significantly lower levels of 1-penten-3-one, 2-isobutylthiazole, and 1-nitro-2-phenylethane compared to 1-day samples. cis-3-Hexenol in locular gel was the only volatile compound that showed significantly higher levels with increasing ethylene treatment. EN analysis showed greater Mahalanobis distances between 1- and 3-day ethylene samples than between 3- and 5-day ethylene samples (32.09 and 12.90, 24.14 and 6.52, 116.31 and 65.04, and 15.74 and 13.28 units, for intact tomato, whole tomato, pericarp, and locular gel homogenate, respectively).

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