The Chemistry of Tasty Tomatoes

The Chemistry of Tasty Tomatoes

Author: Melania Tesio

Sugars, acids, and aroma volatiles determine a tomato’s flavor. However, the complexity of the volatiles’ composition challenges a precise definition of their contribution.

Denise Tieman, University of Florida, USA, and colleagues, using a novel multidisciplinary approach, elucidate the flavor chemistry of tomatoes and associate it with consumers preferences.

While the research confirmed the important role of fructose and citric acid in determining a tomato’s aroma, it demonstrated that many of the volatiles previously implicated in flavor intensity or customers preference do not posses this role. The team discovered that only six volatiles – 2-butylacetate, cis-3-hexen-1-ol, 3-methyl-1-butenol, 2-methylbutanal, 1-octen-3-one, and trans,trans-2,4-decadienal – define aroma intensity and that tomatoes’ most abundant C6 volatiles do not influence consumers liking. Apocarotenoid volatiles instead, although less numerous, affected consumers preferences by contributing to sweetness perception independently of tomato sugar content.

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