European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 243, Issue 11, pp 1917–1931 | Cite as

Nashi or Williams pear fruits? Use of volatile organic compounds, physicochemical parameters, and sensory evaluation to understand the consumer’s preference

  • Cosimo Taiti
  • Elettra MaroneEmail author
  • Matteo Lanza
  • Elisa Azzarello
  • Elisa Masi
  • Camilla Pandolfi
  • Edgardo Giordani
  • Stefano Mancuso
Original Paper


Ripen “ready-to-eat” fruits of “Williams” and of two Nashi cultivars (“Hosui” and “Ya Li”), present contemporarily on the stores, were evaluated by physicochemical parameters (shape, skin color, firmness, total soluble solids, titratable acidity), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emission, measured with a proton transfer reaction-time of flight-mass spectrometer (PTR–ToF–MS), either on whole and cube fruits, and sensory evaluation (panel test and consumer’s liking). The data were analyzed by ANOVA, LSD test, hierarchical clustering, PLS-DA, and CCOA. The highest differences for the physicochemical parameters were observed between Williams and Nashi, as Williams differentiated for sugar content and Hosui for firmness. By VOCs spectral analyses, it was observed that whole and cube “Williams” fruits had the highest number and amount of compounds, followed by “Ya Li;” “Hosui” was characterized by a few signals with low intensities. Fruits of each cultivar showed specific VOCs that could be used as markers for discrimination purposes. In “Williams” pears, the presence and amount of defined masses resulted linked to fruitiness and aroma perceived by the consumer. The higher sugar content and the typical pear aroma perceived by the panelists, emitted by “Williams,” could have influenced the consumer’s liking. The tasters appreciated “Hosui” for firmness, and “Ya Li” for visual, even if they resulted lower in sugar and flavor intensity. In the opinion of the respondents to the consumer test, “Williams” resulted the most appreciated both for the average scores of the acceptability and as percentage of responses at a level >5 of a nine-point hedonic scale.


Consumer acceptance Fruit sensory attributes Instrumental analysis Pear aroma PLS-DA PTR–ToF–MS 



This study was supported by funds of the Regione Toscana ‘‘PRAF 2012-2015 MISURA 1.2 e)’’ program (call “Agrifood”, Project VOLATOSCA).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We confirm that we do not have any conflict of interest.

Human/animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.

Informed consent

This article does not requires any informed consent.


  1. 1.
    Wu J, Zhang S, Ming R, Zhu S, Khan MA, Tao S, Korban SS, Wang H, Chen NJ, Nishio T, Xu X, Cong L, Qi K, Huang X, Wang Y, Zhao X, Wu J, Deng C, Gou C, Zhou W, Yin H, Qin G, Sha Y, Tao Y, Chen H, Yang Y, Song Y, Zhan D, Wang J, Li L, Dai M, Gu C, Wang Y, Shi D, Wang X, Zhang H, Zeng L, Zheng D, Wang C, Chen M, Wang G, Xie L, Sovero V, Sha S, Huang W, Zhang S, Zhang M, Sun J, Xu L, Li Y, Liu X, Li Q, Shen J, Wang J, Paull RE, Bennetzen JL, Wang J, Zhang S (2013) The genome of the pear (Pyrus bretschneideri Rehd.). Genome Res 23(2):396–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Morettini A, Baldini E, Scaramuzzi F, Mittempergher L (1967) Monografia delle principali cultivar di pero. Centro miglioramento piante da frutto e da orto CNR, FirenzeGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Moore JN, Ballington JR Jr (1991) Genetic resources of temperate fruit and nut crops (No. 290). International Society for Horticultural ScienceGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    WAPA (World Apple and Pear Association) Apple and Pear Production by country and year (cit. 2003–2012)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hancock JF, Lobos GA (2008) In: Hancock JF (ed) Temperate Fruit crop breeding. Springer, The NetherlandsCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Komes D, Kovačević K (2010) In: Hui YH (ed) Handbook of fruit and vegetable flavors. Wiley, HobokenGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Predieri S, Gatti E, Rapparini F, Cavicchi L, Colombo R (2005) Sensory evaluation from a consumer perspective and its application to ‘Abate Fetel’ pear fruit quality. Acta Hort 671:349–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rapparini F, Predieri S (2003) Pear fruit volatiles. Horticult Rev 28:237–324Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Rizzolo A, Cambiaghi P, Grassi M, Eccher ZP (2005) Influence of 1-methylcyclopropene and storage atmosphere on changes in volatile compounds and fruit quality of conference pears. J Agric Food Chem 53:9781–9789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Blake RS, Monks PS, Ellis AM (2009) Proton-transfer reaction mass spectrometry. Chem Rev 109(3):861–896CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Granitto PM, Biasioli F, Aprea E, Mott D, Furlanello C, Märk TD, Gasperi F (2007) Rapid and non-destructive identification of strawberry cultivars by direct PTR-MS headspace analysis and data mining techniques. Sens Actuators B Chem 121(2):379–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ciesa F, Höller I, Guerra W, Berger J, Dalla Via J, Oberhuber M (2015) Chemodiversity in the fingerprint analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) of 35 Old and 7 modern apple cultivars determined by proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) in two different seasons. Chem Biodivers 12(5):800–812CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Masi E, Romani A, Pandolfi C, Heimler D, Mancuso S (2015) PTR-TOF-MS analysis of volatile compounds in olive fruits. J Sci Food Agric 95(7):1428–1434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Taiti C, Costa C, Menesatti P, Comparini D, Bazihizina N, Azzarello E, Masi E, Mancuso S (2015) Class-modeling approach to PTR-TOFMS data: a peppers case study. J Sci Food Agric 95(8):1757–1763CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    White IR, Blake RS, Taylor AJ, Monks PS (2016) Metabolite profiling of the ripening of Mangoes Mangifera indica L. cv. ‘Tommy Atkins’ by real-time measurement of volatile organic compounds. Metabolomics 12(3):1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Taiti C, Marone E, Bazihizina N, Caparrotta S, Azzarello E, Petrucci AW, Pandolfi C, Giordani E. (2015b) Sometimes a little mango goes a long way: a rapid approach to assess how different shipping systems affect fruit commercial quality. Food Anal Methods. doi: 10.1007/s12161-015-0240-5 Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Taiti C, Costa C, Menesatti P, Caparrotta S, Bazihizina N, Azzarello E, Petrucci AW, Masi E, Giordani E (2015) Use of volatile organic compounds and physicochemical parameters for monitoring the post-harvest ripening of imported tropical fruits. Eur Food Res Technol 241(1):91–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Biasioli F, Gasperi F, Aprea E, Colato L, Boscaini E, Märk TD (2003) Fingerprinting mass spectrometry by PTR-MS: heat treatment vs. pressure treatment of red orange juice—a case study. Int J Mass Spectrom 223:343–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Thibault B, Watkins R, Smith RA (1983) Descriptor list for pear (Pyrus). IBPGR, RomeGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hunter RS (1975) Scales for the measurements of color difference. The Measurement of Appearance. Willy, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Francis FJ (1980) Color quality evaluation of horticultural crops. Horticultural Science, USAGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    AOAC (1990) Official methods of analysis. AOAC, VirginiaGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Costa C, Taiti C, Strano MC, Morone G, Antonucci F, Mancuso S, Claps S, Pallottino F, Sepe L, Bazihizina N, Menesatti P (2016) In: Rodriguez Mendez M (ed) Electronic noses and tongues in food science. Academic Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Blake RS, Whyte C, Hughes CO, Ellis AM, Monks PS (2004) Demonstration of proton-transfer reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometry for real-time analysis of trace volatile organic compounds. Anal Chem 76:3841–3845CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Wyche KP, Blake RS, Ellis AM, Monks PS, Brauers T, Koppmann R, Apel EC (2007) Technical note: performance of chemical ionization reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometry (CIR-TOF-MS) for the measurement of atmospherically significant oxygenated volatile organic compounds. Atmos Chem Phys 7:609–620CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Aprea E, Romano A, Betta E, Biasioli F, Cappellin L, Fanti M, Gasperi F (2015) Volatile compound changes during shelf life of dried Boletus edulis: comparison between SPME-GC-MS and PTR-ToF-MS analysis. J Mass Spectrom 50(1):56–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Müller M, Graus M, Ruuskanen TM, Schnitzhofer R, Bamberger I, Kaser L, Titzmann T, Hortnagl L, Wohlfahrt G, Karl T, Hansel A (2010) First eddy covariance flux measurements by PTR-TOF. Atmos Meas Tech 3(2):387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Cappellin L, Biasioli F, Fabris A, Schuhfried E, Soukoulis C, Tilmann DM, Gasperi F (2010) Improved mass accuracy in PTR-TOF-MS: another step towards better compound identification in PTR-MS. Int J Mass Spectrom 290:60–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Lindinger W, Hansel A, Jordan A (1998) On-line monitoring of volatile organic compounds at pptv levels by means of proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS): medical applications, food control, and environmental research. Int J Mass Spectrom Ion Process 173:191–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Caswell JA, Noelke CM, Mojduszka EM (2002) In: Barry K, Bohman M, Caswell JA (eds) Global food trade and consumer demand for quality. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Koch C, Koch EC (2003) Preconceptions of taste based on color. J Psychol 137:233–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Dekhili S, D’Hauteville F (2009) Effect of the region of origin on the perceived quality of olive oil: an experimental approach using a control group. Food Qual Prefer 20:525–532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Xiao C, Luo W, Liu M, Zhu L, Li M, Yang H, Deng Y (2010) Quality of fresh-cut pears (Pyrus bretschneideri Rehd cv. Huangguan) coated with chitosan combined with ascorbic acid and rosemary extracts. Philipp Agric Sci 93(1):66Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Deng Y, Wu Y, Li YF (2005) Effects of high O2 levels on post-harvest quality and shelf life of table grapes during long-term storage. Eur Food Res Technol 221:392–397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Lawless HT, Heymann H (1998) Sensory evaluation of food: principles and practices, 1st edn. Kluwer Academic Publisher, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Muñoz AM, Civille VG, Carr BT (1992) Sensory evaluation in quality control. Van Mostrand, ReinholdCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Crisosto CH, Crisosto GM (2005) Relationship between ripe soluble solids concentration (RSSC) and consumer acceptance of high and low acid melting flesh peach and nectarine (Prunus persica (L.) Batsch) cultivars. Postharvest Biol Technol 38(3):239–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Podani J (2000) Introduction to the exploration of multivariate biological data. Backhuys, LeidenGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Kennard RW, Stone A (1968) Computer aided design of experiments. Technometrics 11:137–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Kingston CM (1992) Maturity indices for apple and pear. Hortic Rev 13:407–432Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Barrett DM, Beaulieu JC, Shewfelt R (2010) Color, flavor, texture, and nutritional quality of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables: desirable levels, instrumental and sensory measurement, and the effects of processing. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 50(5):369–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Harker FR, Marsh KB, Young H, Murray SH, Gunson FA, Walker SB (2002) Sensory interpretation of instrumental measurements 2: sweet and acid taste of apple fruit. Postharvest Biol Technol 24(3):241–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Mehinagic E, Royer G, Symoneaux R, Bertrand D, Jourjon F (2004) Prediction of the sensory quality of apples by physical measurements. Postharvest Biol Technol 34(3):257–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Chen JL, Yan S, Feng Z, Xiao L, Hu XS (2006) Changes in the volatile compounds and chemical and physical properties of Yali pear (Pyrus bertschneideri Reld) during storage. Food Chem 97(2):248–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Arzani K, Khoshghalb H, Malakouti MJ, Barzegar M (2008) Postharvest fruit physicochemical changes and properties of Asian (Pyrus serotina Rehd.) and European (Pyrus communis L.) pear cultivars. Hortic Environ Biotechnol 49:244–252Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Rizzolo A, Lombardi P, Vanoli M, Polesello S (1995) Use of capillary gas chromatography/sensory analysis as an additional tool for sampling technique comparison in peach aroma analysis. J High Resolut Chromatogr 18(5):309–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Harren FJ, Cristescu SM (2013) Online, real-time detection of volatile emissions from plant tissue. AoB Plants 5:plt003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Lanza M, Acton WJ, Sulzer P, Breiev K, Jürschik S, Jordan A, Hartungen E, Hanel G, Märk L, Märk TD, Mayhew CA (2015) Selective reagent ionisation-time of flight-mass spectrometry: a rapid technology for the novel analysis of blends of new psychoactive substances. J Mass Spectrom 50(2):427–431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Buhr K, van Ruth S, Delahunty C (2002) Analysis of volatile flavour compounds by proton-transfer reaction mass spectrometry: fragmentation patterns and discrimination between isobaric and isomeric compounds. Int J Mass Spectrom 221:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Tani A, Hayward S, Hewitta CN (2003) Measurement of monoterpenes and related compounds by proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS). Int J Mass Spectrom 223:561–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Maleknia SD, Bell TL, Adams MA (2007) PTR-MS analysis of reference and plant-emitted volatile organic compounds. Int J Mass Spectrom 262:203–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Kim S, Karl T, Helmig D, Daly R, Rasmussen R, Guenther A (2009) Measurement of atmospheric sesquiterpenes by proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS). Atmos Meas Tech 2:99–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    El Hadi MAM, Zhang FJ, Wu FF, Zhou CH, Tao J (2013) Advances in fruit aroma volatile research. Molecules 18(7):8200–8229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Berger RG (1991) In: Maarse H (ed) Volatile compounds foods and beverages. Marcel Dekker Inc, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Rudell DR, Mattinson DS, Mattheis JP, Wyllie SG, Fellman JK (2002) Investigations of aroma volatile biosynthesis under anoxic conditions and in different tissues of “Redchief Delicious” apple fruit (Malus domestica Borkh.). J Agric Food Chem 50:2627–2632CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Chervin C, Speirs J, Loveys B, Patterson BD (2000) Influence of low oxygen storage on aroma compounds of whole pears and crushed pear flesh. Postharvest Biol Technol 19(3):279–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Baietto M, Wilson AD (2015) Electronic-nose applications for fruit identification, ripeness and quality grading. Sensors 15(1):899–931CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Qin G, Tao S, Zhang H, Huang W, Wu J, Xu Y, Zhang S (2014) Evolution of the aroma volatiles of pear fruits supplemented with fatty acid metabolic precursors. Molecules 19(12):20183–20196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Song J, Bangerth F (2003) Fatty acids as precursors for aroma volatile biosynthesis in pre-climacteric and climacteric apple fruit. Postharvest Biol Technol 30:113–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Tan SC (2000) Determinants of eating quality in fruit and vegetables. Proc Nutr Soc Aust 24:183–190Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Ernst S, Batte MT, Darby K, Worley T (2006) What matters in consumer berry preferences: price? Source? Quality? J Food Distrib Res 37(1):68–71Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Farneti B, Khomenko I, Cappellin L, Ting V, Romano A, Biasioli F, Costa G, Costa F (2015) Comprehensive VOC profiling of an apple germplasm collection by PTR-ToF-MS. Metabolomics 11(4):838–850CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Kahle K, Preston C, Richling E, Heckel F, Schreier P (2005) On-line gas chromatography combustion/pyrolysis isotope ratio mass spectrometry (HRGC-C/P-IRMS) of major volatiles from pear fruit (Pyrus communis) and pear products. Food Chem 91(3):449–455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Willner B, Granvogl M, Schieberle P (2013) Characterization of the key aroma compounds in Bartlett pear brandies by means of the sensomics concept. J Agric Food Chem 61(40):9583–9593CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agrifood Production and Environmental SciencesUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.Faculty of Biosciences and Technologies for Agriculture Food and EnvironmentUniversity of TeramoTeramoItaly
  3. 3.IONICON Analytik GmbHInnsbruckAustria

Personalised recommendations