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29 attributes to describe peaches

The South-East of the United States grows over 40-60 peach varieties which, however, produce saleable fruit only during 1-3 weeks per variety. The qualitative differences between varieties are always attributable to genetics and environmental factors, but what is certain is that the drop in per-capita consumption (from 2.4 kg in 1995 and 1.3 kg in 2013) shows that the fruit currently available does not satisfy consumers.

The characteristics of the fruit are extremely important for successful commercialisation, though currently all variants are not well documented, except for a few studies describing the flavour and texture of the fruits.

"We developed a universal lexicon to describe the appearance, aroma/flavour, texture and sensory characteristics of the peaches. The objective was to provide a standard reference to compare peach varieties," explains Dr. Koushik Adhikari from the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Georgia (USA).

A trained descriptive panel established 29 attributes using 51 peach cultivars grown throughout the production season. The lexicon includes 18 aroma and flavour attributes to describe ripe as well as under-ripe and over-ripe peaches, 1 to describe the redness of the flesh, 3 to describe feeling and 7 to describe texture. The analysis of the main components was used to understand if the differences between samples correspond to those identified by the panel using the new terms.

Results show that texture and aroma are more important to describe the differences. This lexicon can be useful to identify and quantify the attributes of peaches destined to the fresh market for food research.

"The assessment of the peach varieties grown in the South-East of the United States would be the perfect base to understand the unique characteristics of the different peach varieties. The terminology will constitute a platform for researchers and producers to understand desirable organoleptic traits and compare the varieties currently available. In addition, it will make it possible to create a database suitable for production and varietal selection applications and help producers grow peaches destined to commercial success."

Source: Catherine Belisle, Koushik Adhikari, Dario Chavez, Uyen Thuy Xuan Phan, 'Development of a lexicon for flavor and texture of fresh peach cultivars', 2017, Journal of Sensory Studies

Publication date: 8/31/2017


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