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Abstract

The flavor is a crucial factor considered by the customers while purchasing freshly produced fruits. Presently, the quality of flavour is the basic sensory parameter for maintaining the consumer acceptability. Over the past few decades, several intensive researches have been carried out on the flavour of fruits such as apples, pineapples, citrus fruits and many others because of their varied attractive organoleptic properties. Therefore, the fruit's flavor is of remarkable significance with respect to the evaluation of several quality traits and characteristics. It has also been reviewed that the whole apple flavor has been examined by gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC/MS) analysis. The major compounds identified responsible for the unusual flavors in apple fruit are 2-methylbutyl acetate, butyl acetate, hexyl acetate, butanol, 2-methylbutanol and hexanol. This article provides a comprehensive review of the flavours of apples including the compounds of flavour, their analysis and effect on storage technology.
RESEARCH ARTICLE
Copyright © 2014 American Scientific Publishers
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America
Journal of
Nutritional Ecology and Food Research
Vol. 2, 1–6, 2014
Flavors of Apple and Pineapple Fruits
Priya Sharma, Pushpa Dhami, and Pragya Pandey
Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Home Science, Punjab Agricultural University,
Ludhiana, Punjab 141004
Good flavor is a critical factor in maintaining the customers who purchase fresh-cut produce. Nowa-
days, flavor quality is being addressed as key element for consumer acceptance. The flavour of
apples and pineapples has been the subject of intensive research over the last 50 years, mainly
because it attracts a considerable attention due to their unusual sensory properties. Flavour of the
fruits is of utmost significance and is one of the quality parameter of its evaluation. Volatile flavour
compounds produced by apple have been identified by gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy
(GC/MS). Whole apple flavor has been examined extensively by measuring aromatic compounds
using gas chromatographic analysis. It has also been reviewed that stage of maturity at harvest
affected the increase of volatiles upon ripening after controlled atmosphere (CA) storage. Major
components responsible for flavour in apples are 2-methylbutyl acetate, butyl acetate, hexyl acetate,
butanol, 2-methylbutanol and hexanol. However, consumer feedback has indicated that there is a
loss of flavour after storage. Pineapple is a very well known fruit all over the world and it repre-
sents one of the largest commodities among tropical fruits. The flavour of pineapple is a blend of a
number of volatile and non-volatile compounds that are present in small amounts and in complex
mixtures, with the non-volatile compounds more difficult to analyze. Esters of 3-(methylthio) pro-
pionic acid, esters of hydroxyl and/or acetoxy acids, furane derivates and lactones were found as
prevalent compounds of pineapple fruit aromas. Characteristic volatile and non-volatile compounds
obtained by hydro-distillation and direct percolation were identified and quantified by GC/MS.
All these factors may affect quality and quantity of components which create a complex of the
natural apple and pineapple aroma. This article provides a comprehensive review of the flavours
of apples and pineapples including the compounds of flavour, their analysis and effect on storage
technology.
Keywords: Apple Fruit, Flavour Compounds, Pineapple Fruit, Sensory Characterization.
1. INTRODUCTION
Fruits contribute a large portion of vitamins, minerals,
antioxidants and fiber to the human diet. Fruits are the
major sources of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals)
and phytonutrients (e.g., antioxidants) in the human diet
and are integral to healthy lifestyles. Over the last 50 yr or
more, important aspects of fruit quality have been largely
neglected. Indeed, much of the focus on yield that has
resulted in cheaper, year-round produce availability runs
counter to one important aspect of quality, namely flavor.
Consumers have noticed a significant drop-off in flavor
quality over the recent decades and produce flavor is a
major source of consumer complaints.
Flavor volatiles are derived from an array of nutrients,
including amino acids, fatty acids and carotenoids.1Fla-
vor, the odor and taste sensation one receives in the pro-
cess of chewing food, is the most important factor that
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
influences the degree of liking for the food we eat. Volatile
compounds present in the food compose its aroma, the
strongest contributor to food’s flavour.2
Human perception of flavor is exceedingly complex.
Taste is the detection of non-volatile compounds (in con-
centration of parts per hundred) by several types of
receptors in the tongue for sugars or polyalcohols, hydro-
nium ions, sodium ions, glucosides and alkaloids, etc.
These correspond to the perception of sweet, sour, salty
and bitter tastes in food. Aroma compounds can be
detected in ppb concentrations and are detected by olfac-
tory nerve endings in the nose. The brain processes infor-
mation from these senses to give an integrated flavor
experience.
1.1. “Apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) Flavor”
Apple is one of the major fruit crops produced in the
world, with a total production of more than 69 mil-
lion tonnes worldwide in 2010. More than 7500 varieties
J. Nutr. Ecol. Food Res. 2014, Vol. 2, No. 4 2326-4225/2014/2/001/006 doi:10.1166/jnef.2014.1102 1
RESEARCH ARTICLE
Flavors of Apple and Pineapple Fruits Sharma et al.
of apples are grown throughout the world, with the top
apple cultivars being “Red Delicious,” “Golden Delicious,
“Granny Smith,” “Gala,” and “Fuji” (USDA 2004).
2. FLAVOR COMPOUNDS OF APPLE FRUIT
Flavor and aroma are perhaps the most elusive and sub-
jective of quality traits in apple. Flavor is taste plus
odor and is mainly composed of sweetness, sourness and
aroma, which corresponds to sugars, acids and volatiles.
The perception of sweetness, i.e., sugars, one of the most
important components of apple fruit flavor, is modified by
sourness or acid levels and aroma compounds. The con-
tribution of aroma to the flavor quality of fresh produce
has gained increasing attention. The contribution of a spe-
cific aroma compound to flavor is therefore expressed in
odor units (aroma value), which is the ratio of this con-
centration to its detection threshold.3Gas chromatography-
mass spectrometry (GC-MS) have made it possible to
identify more than 300 volatile compounds present in dif-
ferent apple cultivars including alcohols, aldehydes, ethers,
ketones and most importantly, esters.4
The overall fruity attribute could be explained by
volatile esters that have fruity and apple-like odors.5Hexyl
acetate, butyl acetate and 2-methylbutyl acetate have been
identified to be primarily responsible for apple aroma in
several cultivars. When smelled individually from the gas
chromatograph effluents, methyl 2-methylbutyrate, ethyl
2-methylbutyrate and propyl 2-methylbutyrate had dis-
tinct sweet and strawberry-like aromas.5These methyl-
butyrate esters may be important for the general fruity
and sweet aroma of ‘Gala,’ but are not distinguished
from the overall apple aroma.6Acetates, propionates,
butanoates and hexanoates are the most important esters
contributing to apple odor in various cultivars of apples.
The esters 2-methylbutyl acetate, hexyl acetate, hexyl
2-methylbutanoate, butyl hexanoate and hexyl butanoate
and alcohols 2-methyl-1-butanol and 1-hexanol were
quantitatively the main compounds present at harvest.
The compounds that appeared after cold storage but
not at harvest were the esters methyl butanoate, ethyl
hexanoate, hexyl octanoate, 2-methylpropyl propanoate,
butyl 2-methylpropanoate, heptyl 2-methylbutanoate and
2-methylbutyl 2-methylbutanoate; the alcohol 2-heptanol;
and Dlimonene, 2-methylciclo pentanone and 6-methyl-5-
hepten-2-one.7
Alcohols are the second most important group of
organic compounds in terms of contribution to apple flavor.
They may even become the most important group if dis-
tillation methods are selected for the extraction of apple
essences. Alcohols are probably enzymatically produced
from esters passing from the cortex through to the peel
and then out of the apple. Short-chained alcohols like
1-butanol, which possesses a sweet aroma, are consid-
ered desirable for obtaining the characteristic flavor of
apples.4
Esters are produced by combining alcohols and CoA
derivatives of carboxylic acids in an oxygen—dependent
reaction catalyzed by alcohol acyl–CoA transferase. As
acetyl—CoA is the most abundant CoA present in fruit
tissues, the majority of esters are acetate esters.8The fla-
vor of apples is mainly due to several volatile compounds
that are present in their peel and flesh.9
2.1. Analysis of Flavor in Apple Fruit
Most of the techniques used in aroma isolation take advan-
tage of either solubility or volatility of the aroma com-
pounds. Because the aroma components of a foodstuff are
distributed in its matrix, the procedures to isolate and con-
centrate them are complicated. Aroma compounds tend
to be more soluble in an organic solvent than in aque-
ous solution (e.g., a food matrix), thus aroma isolates may
be prepared by solvent extraction processes. Identification
and/or quantification of the flavor compounds present in
a product is a very complicated task because none of the
instruments currently available are as sensitive to odors
as the human nose.2Flavor analysis by instrumental tech-
niques is divided into several steps. First, flavor com-
pounds are isolated from the food matrix and secondly
identified and/or quantified. Several techniques are used
for the isolation and/or concentration of volatiles com-
pounds, including distillation methods, solvent extraction
and headspace analysis, such as purge and trap (PT), static
and solid phase micro extraction (SPME).2
Food analysis is important for the evaluation of the
nutritional value and quality of fresh and processed prod-
ucts and for monitoring food additives and other toxic
contaminants. Sample preparation, such as extraction, con-
centration and isolation of analytes, greatly influences
the reliable and accurate analysis of food. Solid-phase
microextraction (SPME) is a new sample preparation tech-
nique using a fused-silica fiber that is coated on the
outside with an appropriate stationary phase. Analyte
in the sample is directly extracted to the fiber coating.
The SPME technique can be used routinely in combina-
tion with gas chromatography (GC), GC-mass spectrom-
etry (GC-MS), high-performance liquid chromatography
(HPLC) or LC-MS.10
1. Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME). Solid Phase
Microextraction is a relatively new sample preparation
technique invented by professor Kataoka and co-workers
in 1989.10 The SPME technique does not require the
use of solvents, is fast and inexpensive. Its application
requires fewer steps than traditional analytical methods,
which minimizes the potential loss of analytes from the
apples.11 Detection limits in the order of 5–50 pg/g are
achieved for some volatile compounds like those present
in apples. The sensitivity obtained with SPME depends
upon several factors such as type of fiber used, volume
of the sample, extraction temperature and extraction time,
introduction or not of salting-out agents and mode of
extraction.12
2J. Nutr. Ecol. Food Res. 2, 1–6,2014
RESEARCH ARTICLE
Sharma et al. Flavors of Apple and Pineapple Fruits
2. Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS).
GC-MS is the most commonly used technique to separate,
identify and quantify volatile compounds in apples.
GC separates the components of a sample, while MS
identifies those substances by their mass spectrum. After
the injection of a small amount of sample into the GC,
the sample is vaporized and its compounds are separated
as they travel through a coated column. Separation is
achieved based on each component’s chemical character-
istics. Then, the separated compounds enter the MS where
they are bombarded by electrons to produce ion fragments.
Each compound produces a specific mass spectrum, which
is identified by comparison to an existing database of mass
spectra. Quantification is achieved by measuring the rela-
tive intensities of the mass spectra.13
2.2. Influence of Cultivars and Maturity Stages on the
Flavor of Apple Fruits
There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples,
resulting in a range of desired characteristics. Different
cultivars are bred for various tastes and uses, including
cooking, fresh eating and cider production.
Immature fruits produce fewer volatile compounds
at harvest and lose their capacity for volatile produc-
tion during storage and especially during long-term CA
(Controlled Atmosphere) or ultralow CA storage. As har-
vest maturity advances, the time required to regener-
ate aroma volatiles to optimal levels after CA storage
decreases.14
2.3. Effects of Storage Technology on Apple Fruit
Flavor Perception
The inhibiting effect of CA storage on volatile produc-
tion by apples is well documented. A partial recovery of
volatile production may occur when apples are placed in
air or higher O2 levels for some weeks before removal
from storage. Volatile compounds were emitted in larger
amounts when ‘Gala’ apples stored in CA for 16 weeks
were then placed in air for 4 weeks.7The response may
therefore depend on the cultivar, maturity stage at har-
vest, storage atmosphere combinations and other cultural
factors.
Commercially, apples can be stored for some months in
controlled-atmosphere chambers to delay ethylene-induced
ripening. Apples are commonly stored in chambers with
higher concentrations of carbon dioxide and high air fil-
tration. This prevents ethylene concentrations from rising
to higher amounts and preventing ripening from occurring
too quickly. Ripening continues when the fruit is removed
from storage.
Lower O2 and higher CO2 levels and longer storage
periods resulted from the suppression of volatile emis-
sions in apples.14 The storage could help regenerate some
of the volatile compounds in apples without the loss
of firmness, acidity and solid soluble content, as this
would help to improve the sensory acceptance of the
fruit.
2.4. Post Harvest Handling of Apple Flavours
Controlled atmosphere (CA) storage is a well-established
technique for maintaining fruit quality and extending the
postharvest life of apples. It is well documented that CA
with low concentration of O2 offers great benefits for long-
term storage in terms of maintaining texture, soluble solids
and the acidity of apples, but has the drawbacks of reduc-
ing the production of some volatiles and consequently pro-
ducing fruit of poor flavor and aroma compared to that
stored in air atmospheres.8The extent and speed of recov-
ery of aroma volatile production after CA varies with the
cultivar and storage time.
2.5. Harvest Maturity and Storage Technologies for
Apple Flavour
Fruit industries use low temperatures, controlled atmo-
spheres and ripening inhibitors to slow ripening and to
improve the storability of fruits that would otherwise dete-
riorate rapidly at ambient temperatures and atmospheres.
For apples, softening, loss of acidity, accumulation of sug-
ars and biosynthesis of flavour volatiles are all slowed by
these postharvest technologies.1516
Sensory studies on apples have shown that texture and
flavour are closely related during ripening, but that the
maximum ratings for texture and flavour occur at differ-
ent stages of ripeness and are dependent on the storage
atmosphere.17 A lack of understanding of the impor-
tance of volatiles for acceptability of apples is probably
due to insufficient studies that compare fruit with dif-
fering volatile composition, but similar texture and taste
attributes.
2.6. Sensory Characterization of Apple Flavor
Péneau et al.18 showed that freshness, together with taste
and aroma, was a decisive sensory attribute for select-
ing apples. They related freshness to crispness, juiciness,
aroma and liking.
Higher acceptability scores were associated with fruit
exhibiting higher emissions of the straight-chain esters
methyl acetate, octyl acetate and ethyl hexanoate and the
branched-chain esters 2-methylpropyl propanoate, butyl
2-methylpropanoate and ethyl 2-methylbutanoate. Within
the alcohol group, a study concluded that 2-methyl-1-
butanol had the greatest influence on acceptability, fol-
lowed by 1-propanol, 1-butanol and 2-ethyl-1-hexanol.
Of these, ethyl hexanoate and ethyl 2-methylbutanoate
stood out for their contribution to the aroma profile of Fuji
apples.19 The combined results suggest that concentrations
of certain specific volatile compounds are more important
than total aroma volatile emissions in determining overall
fruit acceptability.
J. Nutr. Ecol. Food Res. 2, 1–6, 2014 3
RESEARCH ARTICLE
Flavors of Apple and Pineapple Fruits Sharma et al.
2.7. “Pineapple (Ananas Comosus [L.] Merril) Flavor”
The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a tropical plant with
edible multiple fruit consisting of coalesced berries and the
most economically significant plant in the Bromeliaceae
family. Pineapples may be cultivated from a crown cutting
of the fruit, possibly flowering in 20–24 months and fruit-
ing in the following six months. Pineapple does not ripen
significantly post-harvest.20
Pineapples have exceptional juiciness, vibrant tropical
flavour and immense health benefits. It contains consider-
able calcium, potassium, fibre and vitamin C. It is low in
fat and cholesterol.
Due to its attractive sweet flavor, pineapple is widely
consumed as a fresh and canned fruit, as well as in pro-
cessed juices and as an ingredient in exotic foods. The
volatiles of pineapple have been studied for over 60 years
and more than 280 aroma compounds have been identified
to date.21
Studies on pineapple aroma have been made since many
years ago using both fresh fruits from different cultivars
(not always specified) and processed foods.
3. FLAVOR COMPOUNDS OF
PINEAPPLE FRUIT
Volatile compound composition changed throughout the
different stages of maturity; ripe pineapple had larger con-
tents of most of the volatile compounds as compared with
green and very green fruits.
The main volatile compounds are esters, terpenes,
ketones and aldehydes. The number and content of
aroma compounds detected in pulp were higher than
those found in core. In pulp, the characteristic aroma
compounds were ethyl 2-methylbutanoate, ethyl hex-
anoate, 2,5-dimethyl-4-hydroxy-3(2H)-furanone (DMHF),
decanal, ethyl 3-(methylthio)propionate, ethyl butanoate
and ethyl (E)-3-hexenoate; while in core the main com-
pounds were ethyl 2-methylbutanoate, ethyl hexanoate
and DMHF. Some of the compounds, methyl and ethyl
3-methylthiopropionate, ethyl 2-methylbutanoate and ethyl
hexanoate, are believed to be important contributors to
pineapple aroma.22
It is very significant for fruit quality, selection and
breeding, cultivation as well as industrial development
to study characteristic attributes of pineapple aroma.
The availability of detailed information about differences
among the aroma volatile compounds between pulp and
core of pineapple was limited.
It has been reported that esters were the most abun-
dant pineapple volatiles, in particular, ethyl hexanoate and
methyl hexanoate which have the highest contribution to
the pineapple aroma.21
Taivini et al.23 identified many sulfur-containing esters
among pineapple volatiles; nevertheless, their concentra-
tions were lower than their odor thresholds. Akioka24
reported that esters were the major volatile compounds
in pineapple volatile composition however; He et al.25
reported that hydrocarbons and esters were the main com-
pounds, which could be explained by differences in culti-
vars, growing conditions and volatiles extraction methods.
3.1. Analysis of Flavor in Pineapple Fruit
Most of the methods involved in analysis of flavour
in pineapple fruit involve distillation, solvent extraction
and/or headspace gas chromatography. Several classes
of compounds including hydrocarbons, esters, sulfur-
containing compounds, lactones, carbonyl compounds,
alcohols and phenols have been identified. Character-
istic aroma volatile compounds from different parts
of pineapple were analyzed by headspace-solid phase
microextraction (HS-SPME) and gas chromatography-
mass spectrometry (GC/MS).
Solid-phase microextraction (SPME) is a solvent-free,
rapid and sensitive technique which has become popular in
volatile flavour analysis, now widely used for analysis of
aroma volatiles in many food and beverage matrices, due
to its simplicity of manipulation.12 This method has been
successfully used for qualitative and quantitative analysis
of volatile compounds in various fruits.26
The characteristic aroma compounds were defined by
their odor activity values (OAVs) which were calculated
by the ratio of the concentration of each component to
its odor threshold.27 The compound was assumed to con-
tribute to characteristic aroma compounds and considered
as characteristic aroma compound when its OAV >1.
3.2. Effects of Processing on the Flavor of
Pineapple Fruit
The pineapple fruit flavor can be easily modified during
fruit processing. Consumption of pre-cut fruits, including
pineapples, has increased considerably because of the con-
venience offered to consumers by these fresh-cut products.
The shelf life of cut fruit is considerably less than that of
the intact uncut fruit. Consequently, there has been con-
siderable interest in changes in the fruit and/or process-
ing conditions that influence the shelf life of cut fruits.28
Lamikanra and Richard29 demonstrated that storage of cut
cantaloupe melon at 4 C caused a considerable decrease
in the concentration of esters and synthesis of the phy-
toalexin terpenoid compounds, -ionone and geranylace-
tone, over a period of 24 h. The changes in volatile aroma
compounds were similar to those that occurred as a result
of the exposure of the cut tissue to UV light. Lamikanra
et al.30 indicated that the stress adaptation process of fruit
to exposure of tissue resulting from fresh—cut processing
involves the reduction of volatile aroma compounds, par-
ticularly esters and synthesis of sesquiterpene compounds
with phytoalexin properties. In fact, they evaluated the
effect of storage and UV—induced stress on the volatile
aroma compounds of fresh—cut pineapple. According to
their results, storage at 4 C for 24 h and exposure of
4J. Nutr. Ecol. Food Res. 2, 1–6,2014
RESEARCH ARTICLE
Sharma et al. Flavors of Apple and Pineapple Fruits
cut fruit to UV radiation for 15 min caused a consider-
able decrease in the concentration of esters and an increase
in the relative amount of copaene, sesquiterpene which
inhibit microbial growth in fruits when it is added to
fresh—cut fruit.
3.3. Sensory Characterization of Pineapple Flavor
Total aroma of the fruit is a result of a specific blend
of individual component aromas with specific quantity of
each of them. For this reason, it is necessary to achieve
proper separation and identification of odor-contributing
constituents in combination with sensory evaluation of
the fruit and its individual components.31 A regression
tree model relating acceptability to the other sensory
attributes showed that the attributes sweetness, pineapple
flavor intensity and off-flavor were the most important
factors in determining acceptability. Pineapple flavor rating
was more important than sweetness rating in determining
pineapple sensory quality as long as the sugar content of
the fruit was adequate.32
The sweetness ratings are important to pineapple qual-
ity, but if sweetness is adequate, the main factor that dif-
ferentiates pineapples based on acceptability is pineapple
flavor intensity.33
3.4. Influence of the Post-Cutting Life, Storage and
Quality of Minimally Processed Pineapple on
Its Flavour
Post-cutting life of pineapple fruit is influenced by temper-
ature, ranging from 4 days at 10 C to over two weeks at
0C.34 The end of commercial life of fruit was indicated
by a sharp rise in respiration followed by an increase in
ethylene production. Prolonged storage of intact pineapple
fruits at temperatures below 12 C leads to the appear-
ance of chilling injury symptoms, a problem that can
be alleviated by the use of controlled or modified atmo-
spheres. Continuation of storage beyond this point led
to the appearance of off-flavors and odors and microbial
spoilage. Reduction of the O2 levels during storage at
5C led to a reduction in the respiratory rate and to the
retention of the yellow color of the wedges, whereas high
CO2 reduced brown discoloration. Under the most favor-
able conditions (2%O2 +10% CO2), post-cutting life was
extended beyond two weeks. The Modified Atmosphere
(MA) packaging system used was effective in achieving
the desired equilibrium O2 and CO2 concentrations at
0C. At 5 C, even though these concentrations reached
levels lower than 2% and higher than 15% respectively, no
off-odor or off-flavors were detected after a 2-week storage
period.35
3.5. Storage of Fresh Fruits for Better Taste
The flavor of these fruits is influenced by maturity and
quality at harvest and by how they are stored afterwards.
To maintain the freshness and flavor of the produce you
buy at the market or grow in your garden, you should
know how to store it at home. Many fruits should be stored
only at room temperature because refrigerator tempera-
tures (usually 38to 42F[3.3
to 5.6C]) damage them
or prevent them from ripening to good flavor and texture.
4. CONCLUSION
Flavor of fruits is an important aspect of quality. Although
difficult to define, qualify and quantify, this elusive and
complex trait is important to consumers and deserves more
attention from both researchers and industry. Flavor quality
of fresh and processed fruit products will be an important
factor in an increasingly competitive global market. Flavor
maintenance becomes a challenge to maintain as shelf life
and marketing distances increase due to new storage, han-
dling and transport technologies. However, despite these
issues, the bottom line for flavor quality is still genetic.
Breeders need more information and analytical tools in
order to select for flavor quality. Use of wild material may
be necessary in breeding programs to regain flavor charac-
teristics that have been lost from some commodities. Use
of molecular markers that relate to flavor may help iden-
tify important enzymes in flavor pathways. The effect of
harvest maturity on flavor quality needs to be determined
for each commodity.
The total number of volatile components in a given
apple is cultivar specific and depends on its enzymatic
activity and the aroma of apples is mainly due to several
volatile compounds that are present in their peel and flesh.
The main volatile compounds found in pineapple fruit are
esters, followed by terpenes, ketones and aldehydes. With
the current focus on flavor quality and current advances in
flavor chemistry, sensory techniques and molecular biol-
ogy, there are many opportunities to further efforts on
behalf of flavor quality in fresh produce.
Conflict of Interest
There is no conflict of interest.
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Received: 1 October 2015. Accepted: 12 December 2015.
6J. Nutr. Ecol. Food Res. 2, 1–6,2014
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