Electronic-nose applications for fruit identification, ripeness, and quality grading
Fruits produce a wide range of volatile organic compounds that impart their characteristically distinct aromas and contribute to unique flavor characteristics. Fruit aroma and flavor characteristics are of key importance in determining consumer acceptance in commercial fruit markets based on individual preference. Fruit producers, suppliers and retailers traditionally utilize and rely on human testers or panels to evaluate fruit quality and aroma characters for assessing fruit salability in fresh markets. We explore the current and potential utilization of electronic-nose devices (with specialized sensor arrays), instruments that are very effective in discriminating complex mixtures of fruit volatiles, as new effective tools for more efficient fruit aroma analyses to replace conventional expensive methods used in fruit aroma assessments. We review the chemical nature of fruit volatiles during all stages of the agro-fruit production process, describe some of the more important applications that electronic nose (e-nose) technologies have provided for fruit aroma characterizations, and summarize recent research providing e-nose data on the effectiveness of these specialized gas-sensing instruments for fruit identifications, cultivar discriminations, ripeness assessments and fruit grading for assuring fruit quality in commercial markets.