Analysis of Aroma Constituents in Cultivated Strawberries by GC/MS


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Virginia Tech


In aroma analysis, strawberries have always been the favored fruit because of their relatively high content of typical and pleasant aroma constituents. Esters, aldehydes, alcohols and sulfur compounds have been found to be the main aroma components in strawberry. In recent years, two volatile compounds, 2,5-dimethyl-4-methoxy-3(2H)-furanone (DMF) and 2,5-dimethyl-4-hydroxy-3(2H)-furanone (DHF) were reported to contribute heavily to strawberry aroma. These two compounds have been found in all wild strawberries studied, but found only in few cultivated varieties.

In this work, three kinds of cultivated strawberries were sampled and analyzed. The three strawberries all belong to the Camarosa variety. They came from different growing areas: Salinas (California), Orrville (Ohio), and Memphis (Tennessee). The volatile compounds of these three strawberries were separated by Gas Chromatography (GC), and identified by Mass Spectrometer Detector (MSD). Column and experimental conditions were optimized for this particular separation.

Salinas, Orrville and Memphis strawberries have very similar aroma constituents, however, in slightly differing amounts. Several unique peaks were found in each strawberry, which may well account for the differences in the aroma qualities of the three. 2-Furaldehyde was found in both Memphis and Orrville strawberries, but not in Salinas. It is a key odor compound correlated with woody aroma and it has a low odor threshold value. These two properties make it contribute negatively to the pleasant aroma of Memphis and Orrville strawberries.

A compound, 2-furanmethanol, was found only in Salinas strawberries. This compound has a faint burning aroma, however, its high odor threshold value offsets its potentially bad aroma. DMF was found in all three strawberries, but no DHF was detected in any of the three. We propose a possible explanation for the absence of DHF. Ethyl (methylthio) acetate, which is a sulfur-containing compound, was found in both Orrville and Salinas strawberries. This work is the first to report its presence in strawberries of any variety.

An external standard method was employed to quantify seven main aroma components found in the strawberry extracts. Aroma values were introduced and then calculated together with sensory descriptions of these compounds. Salinas strawberry was found to have the best aroma quality of the three. These results indicate that the odors of strawberries of the same variety can be different when grown in different geographical areas.



Aroma Value, Camarosa strawberries, GC/MS