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Charles F. Forney, James P. Mattheis and Rodney K. Austin

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea L., ltalica Group) produces severe off-odors when it is stored under anaerobic conditions which can develop in modified atmosphere packages. The compounds responsible for these off-odors, which render the broccoli unmarketable, were produced after sealing 50 g of fresh broccoli florets in glass pint jars held at 15C. Twenty-four hours after sealing oxygen concentration dropped to around 0.5% and remained at this concentration for 6 days. Volatile compounds found in the head space of the jars were identified using gas chromatography with flame photometric and mass spectroscopic detection. Volatile compounds produced were identified as methanethiol, hydrogen sulfide, dimethyl disulfide, acetaldehyde, acetone, ethanol, and ethyl acetate. Methanethiol was detected 48 hours after sealing and appears through olfactory evaluation to be the primary compound responsible for the objectionable odor.