BACKGROUND: Tangerines have a distinct flavor among citrus fruit. However, information on tangerine volatiles remains limited. Volatile compounds from a breeding population of tangerines were earlier identified by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. In this study, five hybrids with a distinct volatile profile were analyzed by gas-chromatography–olfactometry (GC-O) and descriptive sensory analysis.
RESULTS: Forty-nine aroma active compounds were found in a consensus by GC-O. Aldehydes were the most important group with odor activity, as well as monoterpenes, esters, alcohols and ketones. 1,8-Cineole, β-myrcene, (E,E)-2,4-nonadienal, hexanal, ethyl-2-methylbutanoate, and linalool were perceived with high intensity in most samples. Two ‘Clementine’ × ‘Minneola’ and one ‘Fortune’ × ‘Murcott’ hybrids with tangerine, sulfury and woody/spicy flavors had aroma active compounds with terpeney, fatty/vegetable and metallic/rubber descriptors. A tangerine with ‘Valencia’ orange in its parentage had a characteristic orange flavor, which could be explained by esters and ketones, high in fruity and floral odor intensities. A hybrid of unknown origin had a distinct fruity–non-citrus and pumpkin/fatty flavor; that sample had the lowest amount of aroma-active volatiles, with the least compounds with terpeney odors.
CONCLUSION: There was no one compound characteristic of tangerine flavor. Nevertheless, each sample sensory characteristic could be explained by a set of aroma-active volatile compounds. Published 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.