Carlos Julio Márquez Cardozo; José Régulo Cartagena Valenzuela and Guillermo Antonio Correa Londoño
As an exotic highly perishable tropical fruit commercially grown in Colombia, soursop (Annona muricata L.) is currently in need of postharvest handling studies. Thus, the present research was conducted to characterize the volatile compounds of soursop cv. Elita during postharvest. For this purpose, fruit ripeness was evaluated, for one thing, by a volatile compound measuring system known as electronic nose (EN), and for another thing, by headspace solid phase microextraction and gas chromatography mass spectrometry (HS-SPME/GC-MS). The profile of volatile substances in fruits is one of the main indicators of the sensory attributes that typify the organoleptic quality of these products. The EN constitutes an economical, relatively simple, fast and innovative alternative to determine groups of volatile compounds in whole or fractionated samples from fruits of commercial interest. In contrast, and despite its being a highly selective technique, the use of SPME/CG-MS might be limited by its elevated cost. Based on EN assessment, fruit ripening stages were classified as unripe, half ripe, ripe and overripe. The most active EN sensors were numbers 2 sensitive to nitrogen oxides), 6 (sensitive to methane) and 8 (sensitive to alcohols and partially aromatic compounds). HS-SPME/GC-MS analysis allowed establishing that during postharvest, the major proportion of volatile compounds corresponded to esters, predominantly Methyl hexanoate. Particularly in overripe fruits, the presence of alcoholic compounds coincides with the EN assessment, which, for its part, detected mainly alcohols and a wide range of aromatic substances. The study contributes to the characterization of postharvest volatiles, which are one of the major sensory attributes of tropical fruits.