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Keywords:

  • Allium cepa L. fructose;
  • glucose;
  • pyruvic acid;
  • sucrose;
  • sweetness

Abstract:  Short-day onion bulbs (cv. TG 1015Y) were stored in 1% O2, 99% N2 air at 5 °C (controlled atmosphere [CA]), or in ambient air at 5, 24, or 30 °C, for 5 mo. Changes in flavor precursors, pungency, and sugar content were investigated. After 5 mo of storage, 1-propenyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide concentrations increased continuously at 5 °C, gradually decreased in CA, slightly increased for 3 mo, and returned to initial levels at 24 °C and decreased below initial levels at 34 °C. Methyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide concentrations remained unchanged in all storage conditions. Onion pungency levels significantly increased at 5 °C, and decreased at 30 °C. Storage in CA and at 24 °C resulted in some fluctuations in pungency but the levels remained similar to initial levels. The calculated pyruvic acid concentrations were approximately 1.0 μmole/mL higher than the measured concentrations, and showed an increase at 5 °C and a slight reduction at 30 °C, consistent with the pungency results. Storage at 5 °C and in CA resulted in slight increases in fructose and glucose concentrations for 3 to 4 mo with subsequent rapid decreases, while sucrose concentrations remained unchanged. However, at 24 and 30 °C, fructose and glucose concentrations continuously decreased, accompanied by a continuous increase in sucrose concentrations. Storage in CA maintained the quality of onions best, as evidenced by the smallest changes in flavor precursors, pungency, and sugar concentrations, while storage at 5 °C resulted in increased pungency. Storage at 24 and 30 °C was tested for the purpose of comparison only; these temperatures are not recommended for commercial storage.