Impact of production location, production system, and variety on the volatile organic compounds fingerprints and sensory characteristics of tomatoes

Mirthe Muilwijk, Samuel Heenan, Alex Koot, Saskia M. Van Ruth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Consumers have more and more interest in where and how their foods are produced. However, it is often challenging to discriminate products from different production locations and systems. The objective of this study was to examine fingerprinting of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as an approach for characterization and discrimination of tomatoes by their production location, production system, and variety using Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry combined with multivariate statistics. Sensory analysis was complementing the VOC analyses. The study was part of the EU CORE Organic II project AuthenticFood. Tomato sample batches cultivated in two locations in Italy, according to the organic and conventional production system, comprising two varieties, and produced in two consecutive years were examined. Both factors production location and production system impacted considerably the VOC fingerprints, but compared to these two factors, minor differences were observed between the two varieties of tomatoes studied. VOC data were successfully used to predict the origin and production system for this sample set. Sensory data also primarily indicated the differences between origin and production systems, and several sensory attributes could be predicted from the VOC fingerprints. Therefore, VOC fingerprints reflect production conditions and are promising for substantiation and authentication of special tomato traits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number981549
JournalJournal of Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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