Consumer acceptability and quality of sweet onions
McFerson, Maureen Carolla
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It is well-established that consumer acceptability is determined largely by the relative levels of compounds affecting sweetness and those affecting pungency in an individual bulb, but it is not known which is more important. Twenty selections of sweet onions produced in Lyons, Georgia were evaluated by an experienced panel for sweetness and pungency levels. Four selections were selected to represent four classes of sensory sweetness and pungency levels, these four selections were then used to evaluate acceptability by a consumer panel and those results compared to results from a trained panel. Previously developed predictive models were applied to relate sweetness and pungency sensory scores to consumer acceptability. A positive relationship was found between instrumental assessments of enzymatically produced pyruvate and trained panel sensory pungency scores. In addition, a significant relationship between enzymatically produced pyruvate and onion bulb lachrymatory factor was established. This work indicates a trained panel is an effective approach to identify onion bulbs with superior eating quality based on perceived pungency.