The interaction of storage temperature and duration on aroma volatiles in tomato fruit


Forney, C., D. Leblanc, C. Vigneault, V. Toussaint, G. Bourgeois, A. Clement, and G. Bezanson. 2016. The interaction of storage temperature and duration on aroma volatiles in tomato fruit. VIII International Postharvest Symposium, Cartagena, Spain, June 21-24 (abstract)


Maintaining food flavor and aroma of fresh tomato fruit can be challenging. Storage temperature affects the synthesis of aroma volatiles and holding fruit at chilling temperatures can inhibit volatile synthesis. To gain a greater understanding of the role temperature plays in volatile formation during postharvest storage and ripening of tomato, volatile profiles were assessed over a range of temperatures and storage times. Greenhouse grown tomatoes of the cultivar Trust were harvested at the pink to light red stage of ripeness and held at 1, 10, 18 or 24 °C and 85% RH. Fruit were sampled for volatile analysis after 0, 3, 6, 10 and 13 d. In addition, at each sampling time fruit were held for an additional 3 or 10 d at 20 °C and then sampled for volatile analysis. Volatiles were analyzed from homogenized fruit tissue using headspace-GC-MS. Total volatile concentrations in tomato fruit increased about 3-fold after 10 or more days at 18 °C. The most abundant volatile compounds in fruit held for 10 d at 18 °C included hexanal, followed by 2-methyl butanol, trans-2-hexenal, 6-methyl-5- hepten-2-one, 3-methyl butanal, 2-isobutylthiazole, 3-methyl butanol, geranyl acetone, beta-ionone, and pentanal. Little change in volatile composition occurred in fruit held at 1 or 10 °C for 10 d. However, when fruit held for 3 d at 1 or 10 °C were warmed to 20 °C for an additional 10 d, total volatile concentration increased 6- and 4-fold, respectively when compared to initial values. In addition, volatile composition was similar to that in fruit held at 18 °C, but concentrations were higher. When fruit held for 10 d at 1 °C were warmed to 20 °C for an additional 10 d, volatile synthesis was inhibited, whereas fruit held 10 d at 10 °C and warmed to 20 °C developed volatile profiles similar to non-chilled fruit. Fruit held at 24 °C for 10 d had volatile concentrations similar to those from fruit held at 18 °C. While tomato fruit can tolerate chilling temperatures for short durations, prolonged exposures to temperatures below 10 °C should be avoided since they can inhibit aroma volatile synthesis and thus impact tomato flavor.