Canned Tomatoes: A Good Aroma?

Canned Tomatoes: A Good Aroma?

Author: Melania Tesio

Tomatoes are largely used in the food industry to produce canned tomatoe-based products. Thermal treatments, such as pasteurization or sterilization, are generally performed during the processing of tomatoes because they ensure safety for the consumer by inactivating potentially harmful microorganisms. Heat, however, may change the composition of aromatic volatile constituents and, thus, alter the sensory and nutritive properties of tomatoes.

Tommaso Gomes and co-workers, University of Bari, Italy, investigated this issue by comparing the composition of the volatile constituents of thermally stabilized (TS) and nonstabilized tomatoe-based pâtés (NS). The analysis revealed that thermal treatments affect the concentration of terpenes. The levels of β-myrcene, p-mentha-1,3,8-triene, p-cymene, and β-phellandrene were, in fact, significantly lower in TS pâtés than in the NS ones. On the contrary, the amount of linalool, a terpene alcohol with a floral aroma, was significantly increased upon thermal stabilization. In addition, volatiles characterized by low-sensory thresholds accumulated in TS pâtés as a result of lipid oxidation processes and Maillard reactions.

By changing the composition of aromatic volatiles, thermal treatments may, thus, alter the aroma of tomatoes.

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