• apples;
  • hexanal;
  • minimally processed;
  • packaging atmosphere;
  • sensory analysis

Abstract:  Hexanal is a natural antimicrobial molecule that characterizes apples aroma. In this paper, the sensory effects of hexanal, as a component of packaging atmosphere, on fresh sliced Golden Delicious apples after storage at 4 °C for 8 d were evaluated. In particular, a colorimetric analysis of slices treated with different concentrations of hexanal vapor (coming from 3.040 to 0.076 mmol of liquid aldehyde per liter of air) fixed at 0.076 mmol/L the amount of hexanal in evaluating sensory effects in the subsequent analysis. Color and texture evaluation of slices by Two-out-of-Five method did not highlight any significant difference between treatment and control. The results from olfactory evaluation showed instead that treated samples had an intense odor compared with those untreated (P < 0.001). A significant difference between treatment and control was also highlighted during the flavor evaluation (P < 0.01); however, from the panelists’ observations it emerged that such an effect would work negatively. The positive effect of the tested dose of hexanal on the odor of Golden Delicious slices and its flavor acceptability were verified by using regular apple consumers. A significant preference (P < 0.001) for the odor of treated apple slices came out, so the small dose of hexanal intensifies the odor of apples pleasantly. The different flavor of treated samples was not identified by the consumers, who altogether expressed positive judgments about it. This suggests the nicety of this difference that in the absence of an untreated reference sample is very difficult to detect.