Flavour and aroma of fresh basil are affected by temperature



Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) plants at the three-leaf-pair growth stage were grown in controlled environment rooms at 15 and 25 °C for 2 weeks. Analysis of volatiles from blended leaves by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry showed that the plants grown at 25 °C contained significantly more volatile oils than those grown at 15 °C. The total volatile oil content in fresh leaves was enhanced by 70%. Temperature also affected the composition of volatile oils. At 25 °C there was an accumulation of eugenol, which contributes to the characteristic taste of basil. Although there was no effect on the relative contents of linalool and 1,8-cineole, the absolute contents in fresh leaves were significantly different. Sensory analysis showed that 18 out of 21 trained sensory panellists perceived different intensities of volatile oils in fresh basil leaves from the two sources of plants. In addition, a simple consumer preference test conducted with basil users showed a significant preference for the stronger intensity (41 out of 64 consumers). Copyright © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry