Impact of High-temperature Forced-air Heating of Navel Oranges on Quality Attributes, Sensory Parameters, and Flavor Volatiles

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Navel oranges were subjected to high-temperature forced-air (HTFA) treatment to evaluate the effect on quality and sensory attributes as well as flavor volatiles of a treatment protocol designed to disinfest citrus of Anastrepha spp. fruit flies. The treatment consisted of heating the fruit to a core temperature of 44 °C and then holding it there for 100 min, after which the fruit were placed into storage for 4 weeks. The fruit were removed from storage and evaluated for surface injury, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), and then judged for sensory characteristics by a semiexpert panel. In a separate experiment, fruit were removed at 30-min intervals from the treatment chamber and sensory quality as well as flavor volatiles determined to obtain an estimate of when the flavor changes occurred. It was found that the HTFA treatment caused a significant loss in flavor quality that was most closely linked to a loss in the fresh flavor of the fruit. The HTFA-treated fruit were also determined by panelists to be less sweet, although the SSC/TA ratio was increased by treatment. Neither storage nor waxing after treatment appeared to alter the HTFA effect, although waxing before treatment greatly enhanced the negative effect on flavor. Flavor began to be significantly affected during the final 30 min of treatment. The flavor changes occurred at the same time as large increases in the amount of four esters, two of which were present in concentrations exceeding aroma thresholds and are likely involved in the loss in flavor quality induced by HTFA treatment.

David Obenland
Sue Collin
James Sievert
Mary Lu Arpaia