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Molly Felts, Renee T. Threlfall, and Margaret L. Worthington

Understanding how human perception is related to physicochemical attributes strengthens identification of ripeness and marketability parameters for peaches and nectarines [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch]. Six peach and nectarine cultivars (Amoore Sweet, Bowden, Effie, Loring, Souvenirs, and White River) and three advanced breeding selections (A-827, A-850, and A-865) were harvested from trees grown at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Fruit Breeding Program in Clarksville, AR. Physical and chemical characteristics of the genotypes at harvest were as follows: fruit weight of 134.4 to 330.2 g, firmness of 7.8 to 35.8 N, soluble solids of 7.5% to 14.7%, pH of 3.3 to 4.8, titratable acidity of 0.2% to 1.1%, total sugars of 1.7 to 10.4 g/100 g, and total organic acids of 0.1 to 0.9 g/100 g. Overall, A-865 had the lowest fruit weight (134.0 g) and pH (3.3), and the highest firmness (35.8 N), soluble solids (14.7%), titratable acidity (1.1%), total sugars (10.4 g/100 g), and total organic acids (0.8 g/100 g). ‘White River’ had the largest fruit (330.2 g) and pit (11.06 g). A-850 (63.6) had the highest soluble solids/titratable acidity ratio, and ‘Bowden’ (12.7) had the lowest. A trained descriptive sensory panel (n = 10) was used to create a lexicon for Arkansas-grown fresh-market peaches and nectarines. The panel evaluated the fruit for aroma (n = 4), external appearance (n = 8), internal appearance and pit attributes (n = 6), basic tastes (n = 3), aromatics while eating fruit (n = 5), feeling factors (n = 2), and texture (n = 6). Principal component analysis explained 63.4% of the data variance attributed to texture and acidity. Of all of the physicochemical attributes, firmness had the most significant correlations with the descriptive sensory attributes, followed by fruit weight. Firmness was negatively correlated (r = −0.70 to 0.81) to fruit size, fuzziness, amount of bruises on the flesh, pit size, and moisture release, and positively correlated (r = 0.68–0.84) to sourness, green/unripe aromatics, flesh hardness, flesh crispness, and fibrousness between the teeth. Fruit weight was positively correlated (r = 0.67–0.75) to fruit and pit size, overripe aromatics, and moisture release. Significant correlations between descriptive sensory appearance, basic tastes, aromatics, and texture attributes with physicochemical attributes provide an indication of ripeness and marketability parameters for peaches and nectarines. These descriptive attributes are quality factors that impact consumer purchases and perception of fresh-market peaches and nectarines.

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Molly Felts, Renee T. Threlfall, John R. Clark, and Margaret L. Worthington

Understanding how consumer perception is related to physiochemical attributes assists in the identification of harvest and marketability parameters for muscadine grapes (Vitis rotundifolia Michx.). Three muscadine cultivars (Ison, Nesbitt, and Summit) and three advanced breeding selections (AM-9, AM-74, and AM-83) were harvested from vines at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Fruit Research Station in Clarksville, AR. The physiochemical (physical and composition) and sensory attributes (descriptive) of the genotypes were evaluated at harvest. Significant differences between genotypes were observed for berry weight (9.25–14.38 g), soluble solids (12.73% to 15.40%), pH (2.88–3.33), titratable acidity (0.54% to 1.01%), soluble solids/titratable acidity ratio (13.12–28.49), skin firmness [0.85–1.48 Newtons/millimeters (N·mm−1)], and flesh firmness (0.89–2.14 N). Total sugars (6.17–9.75 g/100 g) and total organic acid (0.50–0.84 g/100 g) levels were not significantly different for these genotypes. A trained descriptive sensory panel (n = 8) evaluated the fruit attributes for aroma (n = 9), external appearance (n = 7), internal appearance (n = 3), basic tastes (n = 3), aromatics (n = 10), feeling factors (n = 2), and texture (n = 7). The descriptive sensory panel detected differences among genotypes for external appearance, internal appearance, and basic taste attributes, more specifically with desirable attributes rather than unfavorable. However, the panelists found no differences among genotypes for texture attributes. Of the physiochemical attributes, total sugars had the most significant correlations with the descriptive sensory attributes, followed by soluble solids/titratable acidity ratio. Total sugars were correlated to 12 attributes (three aromas, two exterior appearances, two basic tastes, four aromatics, and one feeling factor) and soluble solids/titratable acidity was correlated to five attributes (one aroma, one basic taste, two aromatics, and one feeling factor). A lexicon of terms for descriptive sensory attributes for fresh-market muscadine grapes was established. This lexicon can be used for other research and breeding efforts, as well as establishing the relationship between the physiochemical and descriptive sensory attributes.

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Renee T. Threlfall, John R. Clark, Aubrey N. Dunteman, and Margaret L. Worthington

Breeding and release of new fresh-market blackberries (Rubus subgenus Rubus Watson) is vital for competitive markets to address evolving changes and production challenges. Physical, composition, and sensory attributes of six University of Arkansas (UA) System Division of Agriculture blackberry cultivars (Caddo, Natchez, Osage, Ouachita, Ponca, and Prime-Ark® Traveler) were evaluated to identify marketable attributes. The consumer sensory study (n = 81) had two elements: a visual evaluation of displayed blackberries and an appearance, tasting, and firmness evaluation of the six cultivars using a 9-point verbal hedonic liking scale and a 5-point just about right (JAR) scale. Consumers preferred large blackberries when presented with individual berries of varying sizes and clamshells filled with equal weights of small or large blackberries. The largest of the six cultivars, Natchez and Caddo, were scored favorably for size and shape. Consumers also preferred clamshells with little to no red drupelet reversion, a postharvest disorder where black drupelets on the blackberry turn red during or after cold storage. Consumers did not detect differences in the appearance or firmness of the cultivars and rated the firmness of all cultivars favorably on the JAR scale. The physical and composition attributes of the six cultivars were within commercially acceptable ranges (soluble solids = 9% to 10%, pH = 3.1–3.8, titratable acidity = 0.6% to 1.4%, and berry weight = 6–10 g). ‘Ponca’, ‘Osage’, ‘Caddo’, and ‘Natchez’ were all rated highly for sweetness, sourness, overall flavor, and overall impression. ‘Ponca’ was rated high for sweetness, overall flavor, and overall impression and had 10.4% soluble solids, 0.82% titratable acidity, and a 12.8 soluble solids/titratable acidity ratio. The identification of these marketability attributes of fresh-market blackberries will provide information to advance breeding efforts for fruit with commercial potential.