Scientific Reports, October 2020
Peaches have a short shelf-life so require chilling during post-harvest storage and shipping. However, cold storage can affect their aromas, which affects the consumers’ experience.
A recent paper published in Nature’s Scientific Reports describes how thermal desorption coupled with two-dimensional gas chromatography–time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TD–GC×GC–TOF MS) was used to determine the effects of cold storage on the volatile aroma compounds of different peach cultivars.
The study shows that 2D GC (GC×GC) significantly enhances the separation achievable with TD–GC–TOF MS – the technique enabled 115 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to be identified, 15 of which were used to distinguish between the peach cultivars. Also, individual cultivars reacted differently to cold storage, with different changes in VOC profiles seen after seven days of storage (the typical time taken for shipping from southern Italy to northern Europe).
The paper – ‘Fruit volatilome profiling through GC×GC–TOF MS and gene expression analyses reveal differences amongst peach cultivars in their response to cold storage’ – is the culmination of a collaborative study on fruit quality between the University of Calabria (Italy), Cardiff University (UK) the University of Milan (Italy) as part of the FRUITY project, and also involved SepSolve Analytical and Markes International.
In the future, the team plans to provide the food industry with diagnostic kits to evaluate food quality during post-harvest storage, explains FRUITY project leader, Dr Natasha Spadafora.