Aroma is an important fruit sensory attributes that is influenced by the volatile compounds present in the fruit, and it determines whether a fruit is acceptable to consumers. The volatile compounds in 11 pear cultivars from different species were investigated by headspace solid phase microextraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. In total, 70 volatile compounds, including three alcohols, six aldehydes, fifty-two esters, three acids, three terpenes and three ketones were identified and quantified. Ester was the dominant chemical class of which a total of 52 compounds were detected. Hexanal, hexyl acetate, ethyl hexanoate, ethyl 2-methylbutanoate and ethyl butanoate were the major volatile compounds. Pyrus ussuriensis Maxim showed a higher concentration of volatiles and higher ester content than in the other Asian pear species studied. Cultivars were clearly grouped into four clusters based on the concentration and number of different volatile compounds present in each cultivar. The clusters of different cultivars could be discriminated from each others using the first two principal components. The volatile profiles of the pears were qualitatively and quantitatively influenced by the cultivar.
Key words: Pyrus, Asian pear, volatile compound, gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS), solid phase microextraction (SPME), multivariate analysis.
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