4 years ago

The Partnership no. 11

  • Text
  • Enza
  • Cultivation
  • Organic
  • Zaden
  • Partnership
  • Vegetables
  • Varieties
  • Growers
  • Peppers
  • Geothermal

Thanks to (bio)chemical

Thanks to (bio)chemical analyses, we now know more and more about the substances contained in food. But not only that – we know more about their flavours too. The research data is an essential first step towards the development of new varieties of vegetables with an exceptional taste sensation. Science The taste buds on our tongues can taste salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami (Japanese for ‘savoury’) flavours. But the olfactory organ in the nose is also involved in the sensation of taste that we experience when eating. In fact, it plays an essential role in the perception of flavour. This is obvious when you eat while pinching your nose shut – flavourful sweets suddenly taste a lot more bland. Nose flavours The oral and nasal cavities are connected, and air flows from the mouth to the nose while eating. This allows us to detect the specific 'secondary flavours'. These are actually 'nose flavours', i.e. scents, for example vanilla, menthol and cinnamon. "A fragrance consists of volatile compounds," says Senior Researcher Jan-Willem de Kraker. "In combination with the Brix content – the sum of soluble sugars and dissolved organic acids – of vegetables, these compounds play an important part in determining the flavour we experience when eating. It's therefore very interesting to analyse the composition and the combination of biochemical substances when breeding, and to capitalise on these.” Link between science and experience Wageningen University Research (WUR) has been carrying out research into the ideal ratio between the Brix content of fruit, physical parameters for mouthfeel and volatile compounds for a long time now. They produced a first 'taste' model for tomato some ten years ago, which has been increasingly fine-tuned and perfected over the years. A first model for melon has already been produced too. Now WUR, along with a number of partners, including Enza Zaden, has developed a similar statistical model for sweet peppers. "When doing the research, the researchers had a broad taste panel taste all sorts of sweet peppers," De Kraker says. “They then mapped the analytical data of the fruit, such as the Brix content, hardness and moisture content, as well as the volatile compounds. By looking at the data from the taste panel alongside that of the chemical analysis, a statistical relationship can be seen. We can then see which properties of the pepper were assessed as positive by the taste panel, allowing us to make scientific predictions of future taste experience." Blocky versus conical This research was aimed at two types of sweet peppers: the blocky peppers and conicals. The research for the blocky peppers has largely been completed, but challenges still need to be overcome for the conical sweet peppers. "With a Brix of around 5.5° to 6.5°, the blocky sweet pepper is generally a less sweet type in which the volatile compounds play a smaller role than they do in the conicals. For this type the Brix increases Biochemistry sweet pepper 14 | The Partnership The Partnership | 15

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