Modern commercial tomato varieties are substantially less flavorful than heirloom varieties. To understand and ultimately correct this deficiency, we quantified flavor-associated chemicals in 398 modern, heirloom, and wild accessions. A subset of these accessions was evaluated in consumer panels, identifying the chemicals that made the most important contributions to flavor and consumer liking. We found that modern commercial varieties contain significantly lower amounts of many of these important flavor chemicals than older varieties. Whole-genome sequencing and a genome-wide association study permitted identification of genetic loci that affect most of the target flavor chemicals, including sugars, acids, and volatiles. Together, these results provide an understanding of the flavor deficiencies in modern commercial varieties and the information necessary for the recovery of good flavor through molecular breeding.
Highlights d Long-read sequencing of 100 tomato genomes uncovered 238,490 structural variants d Transposons underlie many SVs, and SV hotspots revealed large introgressions d SVs associated with genes are predictive of population-scale changes in expression d New genome assemblies resolved complex breeding QTLs caused by SVs
An important phenylalanine-derived volatile compound produced by plants is 2-phenylethanol. It is a major contributor to flavor in many foods, including fresh fruits, such as tomato, and an insectattracting scent in roses and many other flowers. Despite the centrality of 2-phenylethanol to flavor and fragrance, the plant genes responsible for its synthesis have not been identified. Here, we describe a biosynthetic pathway for 2-phenylethanol and other phenylalanine-derived volatiles in tomato fruits and a small family of decarboxylases (LeAADC1A, LeAADC1B, and LeAADC2) that can mediate that pathway's first step. These enzymes each catalyze conversion of phenylalanine to phenethylamine and tyrosine to tyramine. Although tyrosine is the preferred substrate in vitro, phenylalanine levels in tomato fruits far exceed those of tyrosine, indicating that phenylalanine is a physiological substrate. Consistent with this view, overexpression of either LeAADC1A or LeAADC2 in transgenic tomato plants resulted in fruits with up to 10-fold increased emissions of the products of the pathway, including 2-phenylacetaldehyde, 2-phenylethanol, and 1-nitro-2-phenylethane. Further, antisense reduction of LeAADC2 significantly reduced emissions of these volatiles. Besides establishing a biosynthetic route, these results show that it is possible to change phenylalanine-based flavor and aroma volatiles in plants by manipulating expression of a single gene. metabolic engineering ͉ phenylalanine ͉ taste
Although human perception of food flavors involves integration of multiple sensory inputs, the most salient sensations are taste and olfaction. Ortho- and retronasal olfaction are particularly crucial to flavor because they provide the qualitative diversity so important to identify safe versus dangerous foods. Historically, flavor research has prioritized aroma volatiles present at levels exceeding the orthonasally measured odor threshold, ignoring the variation in the rate at which odor intensities grow above threshold. Furthermore, the chemical composition of a food in itself tells us very little about whether or not that food will be liked. Clearly, alternative approaches are needed to elucidate flavor chemistry. Here we use targeted metabolomics and natural variation in flavor-associated sugars, acids, and aroma volatiles to evaluate the chemistry of tomato fruits, creating a predictive and testable model of liking. This nontraditional approach provides novel insights into flavor chemistry, the interactions between taste and retronasal olfaction, and a paradigm for enhancing liking of natural products. Some of the most abundant volatiles do not contribute to consumer liking, whereas other less abundant ones do. Aroma volatiles make contributions to perceived sweetness independent of sugar concentration, suggesting a novel way to increase perception of sweetness without adding sugar.
SummaryFruit ripening in tomato requires the coordination of both developmental cues and the phytohormone ethylene. The multigene ethylene receptor family has been shown to negatively regulate ethylene signal transduction and suppress ethylene responses. Here we demonstrate that reduction in the levels of either of two family members, LeETR4 or LeETR6, causes an early-ripening phenotype. We provide evidence that the receptors are rapidly degraded in the presence of ethylene, and that degradation probably occurs through the 26S proteasome-dependent pathway. Ethylene exposure of immature fruits causes a reduction in the amount of receptor protein and earlier ripening. The results are consistent with a model in which receptor levels modulate timing of the onset of fruit ripening by measuring cumulative ethylene exposure.
Fresh tomato fruit flavour is the sum of the interaction between sugars, acids, and a set of approximately 30 volatile compounds synthesized from a diverse set of precursors, including amino acids, lipids, and carotenoids. Some of these volatiles impart desirable qualities while others are negatively perceived. As a first step to identify the genes responsible for the synthesis of flavour-related chemicals, an attempt was made to identify loci that influence the chemical composition of ripe fruits. A genetically diverse but well-defined Solanum pennellii IL population was used. Because S. pennellii is a small green-fruited species, this population exhibits great biochemical diversity and is a rich source of genes affecting both fruit development and chemical composition. This population was used to identify multiple loci affecting the composition of chemicals related to flavour. Twenty-five loci were identified that are significantly altered in one or more of 23 different volatiles and four were altered in citric acid content. It was further shown that emissions of carotenoid-derived volatiles were directly correlated with the fruit carotenoid content. Linked molecular markers should be useful for breeding programmes aimed at improving fruit flavour. In the longer term, the genes responsible for controlling the levels of these chemicals will be important tools for understanding the complex interactions that ultimately integrate to provide the unique flavour of a tomato.
Fresh strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) are valued for their characteristic red color, juicy texture, distinct aroma, and sweet fruity flavor. In this study, genetic and environmentally induced variation is exploited to capture biochemically diverse strawberry fruit for metabolite profiling and consumer rating. Analyses identify fruit attributes influencing hedonics and sensory perception of strawberry fruit using a psychophysics approach. Sweetness intensity, flavor intensity, and texture liking are dependent on sugar concentrations, specific volatile compounds, and fruit firmness, respectively. Overall liking is most greatly influenced by sweetness and strawberry flavor intensity, which are undermined by environmental pressures that reduce sucrose and total volatile content. The volatile profiles among commercial strawberry varieties are complex and distinct, but a list of perceptually impactful compounds from the larger mixture is better defined. Particular esters, terpenes, and furans have the most significant fits to strawberry flavor intensity. In total, thirty-one volatile compounds are found to be significantly correlated to strawberry flavor intensity, only one of them negatively. Further analysis identifies individual volatile compounds that have an enhancing effect on perceived sweetness intensity of fruit independent of sugar content. These findings allow for consumer influence in the breeding of more desirable fruits and vegetables. Also, this approach garners insights into fruit metabolomics, flavor chemistry, and a paradigm for enhancing liking of natural or processed products.
scite is a Brooklyn-based organization that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.
334 Leonard St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Copyright © 2023 scite Inc. All rights reserved.
Made with 💙 for researchers
Part of the Research Solutions Family.