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Charles F. Forney and Michael A. Jordan

Methanethiol (MT) is a volatile compound responsible for the unpleasant odor evolved when fresh broccoli (Brassica oleracea L., Italica group) is held under anaerobic conditions. Inductive atmospheres can develop in storage, transportation containers, or modified atmosphere packages, resulting in reduced quality. To determine if related vegetables are capable of producing MT, 12 different vegetables from the genus Brassica were cut into ready-to-eat forms. Fifty-gram samples were sealed in 500-mL glass jars and flushed with N2. After 24 h in the dark at 20 °C, headspace samples from the jars were analyzed for MT and other volatiles. Headspace concentration of MT was greatest in broccoli florets, followed by pak choi (Brassica rapa L., Chinensis group) leaf blades, savoy cabbage (Brassica oleracea L., Capitata group), broccoflower (Brassica oleracea L., Botrytis group), and green and red cabbage (Brassica oleracea L., Capitata group). Broccoli stems, kale (Brassica oleracea L., Acephala group), Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea L., Gemmifera group), pak choi petioles, rutabaga (Brassica napus L., Napobrassica group) root, cauliflower (Brassica oleracea L., Botrytis group) florets, Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa L., Pekinensis group), and kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea L., Gongylodes group) tubers produced <3% of the MT produced by broccoli florets. Green tissues appeared to have a greater capacity to produce MT than nongreen tissues. Anaerobic production of CO2 and ethanol did not relate to the vegetable's ability to produce MT. The production of dimethyl disulfide (DMDS) and dimethyl trisulfide (DMTS) were also induced by the anaerobic conditions. Green cabbage produced the greatest concentration of DMDS, followed by savoy cabbage and broccoli florets. Production of DMTS was similar to the pattern observed for MT, but DMDS production was not highly correlated with MT production.

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Charles F. Forney and Michael A. Jordan

Methanethiol (MT) is a volatile compound responsible for the strong off-odor that is evolved when fresh broccoli is held under anaerobic atmospheres. Inductive atmospheres can develop in modified-atmosphere packages, resulting in reduced quality. To determine if related vegetables are capable of producing MT, 12 different vegetables from the genus Brassica were cut into ready-to-eat forms. Fifty-gram samples of these cut vegetables were sealed in 500-ml glass jars and flushed with N2. After flushing, jars were held for 24 h at 20C in the dark. Headspace samples from the jars then were analyzed for MT and other volatiles using a GC-MS> The concentration of MT was greatest in jars containing broccoli florets. Broccoli flower buds removed from florets produced 40 times more MT than peduncle and stem tissues (38.3 vs. 0.87 mmol·m–3). Headspace concentration of MT (mmol·m–3) in jars containing these different vegetables was: broccoli florets, 22.7; pak choi leaf blades, 17.8; savoy cabbage, 12.4; broccoflower, 7.5; green storage cabbage, 5.2; red cabbage, 2.7; kale, 0.81; Brussels sprouts, 0.36; pak choi petioles, 0.28; rutabaga root, 0.26; cauliflower florets, 0.18; Chinese cabbage, 0.03; and kohlrabi tubers, 0.02. In addition to MT, ethanol, dimethyl disulfide, and dimethyl trisulfide were detected in the headspace over each of the 12 vegetables. The contribution of these induced compounds to off-odor development in packaged, precut vegetables will be discussed.

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Charles F. Forney, Jun Song, Lihua Fan, Paul D. Hildebrand and Michael A. Jordan

Fresh broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. Italica group) florets untreated or treated with 1 μL·L-1 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) for 14 h, were stored at 12 °C with 0, 200, or 700 nL·L-1 ozone. Senescence parameters were evaluated after 0, 1, 2, 5, 8, or 12 days of storage. Treatment with 1-MCP delayed the yellowing of florets, and at day 5 the hue angle of 1-MCP treated florets was 116° (green) compared to 102° (yellow) for the control. Respiration rates of florets were reduced by 1-MCP for the first 5 days. The 1-MCP treatment maintained higher chlorophyll fluorescence expressed as Fv/Fm during 12 days of storage. Also, 1-MCP reduced dimethyl trisulfide production, which contributes to off-odor development in broccoli florets. Compared with the controls, florets stored in 200 nL·L-1 ozone had less mold growth and yellowed more slowly, but no differences were observed in respiration, ethylene production, or Fv/Fm. Florets stored in 700 nL·L-1 ozone were greener than florets held in air or 200 nL·L-1 ozone. Interestingly, chlorophyll fluorescence of the florets stored in 700 nL·L-1 ozone decreased significantly and at day 12, Fv/Fm was only 30% of its initial value. Ozone at 700 nL·L-1 stimulated respiration and ethylene production of florets after 1 day of storage, and caused visible damage in the form of increased weight loss and browning of the floret stem ends. Treatment of broccoli with 1-MCP alone or in combination with 200 nL·L-1 ozone maintained the quality and extended the shelf life of broccoli florets.

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Charles F. Forney and Michael A. Jordan

Heat can induce physiological changes in plant tissues, including the inhibition of broccoli senescence. Hot water treatments at 52C for 3 or more minutes may induce off-odors in fresh broccoli. The objective of this study was to identify heat-induced volatiles that may indicate physiological injury and/or be responsible for off-odors. Heads of fresh broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. Italica group cv. `Paragon') were immersed in water at 25C for 10 min (control); 45C for 10, 15, or 20 min; or 52C for 1, 2, or 3 min. Following treatment broccoli was held at 20C in the dark. Volatiles in the headspace above treated broccoli were trapped on Tenax-GR 2, 24, and 72 h after treatment and analyzed on a GC-MS. Heat treatments increased the production of ethanol, dimethyl disulfide (DMDS), dimethyl sulfide (DMS), dimethyl trisulfide (DMTS), hexenol, methyl thiocyanate, and several other unidentified compounds. Two hours after treatment, ethanol and hexenol concentrations in the headspace of all heat-treated broccoli were greater than those of the 25C/10 min controls. In the 52C/3 min-treated broccoli, headspace concentrations of ethanol, hexenol, DMDS, and methyl thiocyanate were 600-, 42-, 4-, and 4-fold greater than those of controls. After 72 h at 20C, concentrations of DMDS, DMS, and DMTS in broccoli from all six heat treatments were 10- to 200- fold, 8- to 35-fold, and 1.5- to 23- fold greater than those of controls, respectively. Concentrations of ethanol and methyl thiocyanate did not change relative to the controls during the additional 70 h at 20C. Concentrations of hexenol decreased in heat-treated broccoli during this time. The relationship of these volatiles to physiological changes and off-odor development in treated broccoli will be discussed.