Date of Award

8-2012

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Food Science and Human Nutrition

Advisor

L. Brian Perkins

Second Committee Member

Jeffrey McElroy

Third Committee Member

Mary Ellen Camire

Abstract

The aim of the present study is to take a first step into the development of practical tools to characterize tomato varieties based on flavor markers. In order to accomplish this, more than 40 Maine-grown tomato varieties with different flavor profiles were analyzed. The suitability of the analytical methods was assessed. Specifically, sugars and organic acids were separated, identified and quantified using HPLC techniques. Samples were extracted within one or two days of harvest. Fructose was the major contributor to the sweetness in tomatoes. In addition to fructose, glucose and sucrose were also determined for each variety. Sucrose Equivalent (SE) values were calculated so that varieties could be ranked in terms of total sugar content. The SE range went from 1.76 to 5.22. In addition, citric acid concentrations were between 0.23% and 1.48% confirming that citric acid is the major contributor to sourness. Malic acid was also quantified, but the levels were lower the ones obtained for citric acid. SE/TA (Sucrose Equivalent/Titratable acidity) values were also calculated. Results for SE/TA were in the low range compared to previous research. Unreported organic acid concentrations restrain this study from recommending the utilization of the organic method for further work.

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