Analysis of volatile organic compounds in Korean-bred strawberries: insights for improving fruit flavor


Front Plant Sci. 2024 Mar 18;15:1360050. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2024.1360050. eCollection 2024.


INTRODUCTION: The strawberry industry in South Korea has witnessed a significant 65% growth over the past decade, surpassing other fruits and vegetables in production value. While sweetness and acidity are well-recognized flavor determinants, the role of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in defining the desirable flavor profiles of strawberries is also crucial. However, existing research has predominantly concentrated on a limited range of commercial cultivars, neglecting the broader spectrum of strawberry varieties.

METHODS: This study embarked on developing a comprehensive VOC database for a diverse array of strawberry cultivars sourced both domestically and internationally. A total of 61 different strawberry cultivars from Korea (45), the USA (7), Japan (8), and France (1) were analyzed for their VOC content using Tenax TA Thermo Desorption tubes and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). In addition to VOC profiling, heritability was assessed using one-way ANOVA to compare means among multiple groups, providing insights into the genetic basis of flavor differences.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: The analysis identified 122 compounds categorized into esters, alcohols, terpenes, and lactones, with esters constituting the majority (46.5%) of total VOCs in Korean cultivars. ‘Arihyang’, ‘Sunnyberry’, and ‘Kingsberry’ exhibited the highest diversity of VOCs detected (97 types), whereas ‘Seolhong’ showed the highest overall concentration (57.5mg·kg-1 FW). Compared to the USA cultivars, which were abundant in γ-decalactone (a peach-like fruity aroma), most domestic cultivars lacked this compound. Notably, ‘Misohyang’ displayed a high γ-decalactone content, highlighting its potential as breeding germplasm to improve flavor in Korean strawberries. The findings underscore the importance of a comprehensive VOC analysis across different strawberry cultivars to understand flavor composition. The significant variation in VOC content among the cultivars examined opens avenues for targeted breeding strategies. By leveraging the distinct VOC profiles, particularly the presence of γ-decalactone, breeders can develop new strawberry varieties with enhanced flavor profiles, catering to consumer preferences for both domestic and international markets.

PMID:38562564 | PMC:PMC10982345 | DOI:10.3389/fpls.2024.1360050