European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 245, Issue 3, pp 593–606 | Cite as

Borage, calendula, cosmos, Johnny Jump up, and pansy flowers: volatiles, bioactive compounds, and sensory perception

  • Luana Fernandes
  • Susana CasalEmail author
  • José A. Pereira
  • Ricardo Malheiro
  • Nuno Rodrigues
  • Jorge A. Saraiva
  • Elsa RamalhosaEmail author
Original Paper


The aim of the present work was to study the main volatile and bioactive compounds (monomeric anthocyanins, hydrolysable tannins, total flavonoids, and total reducing capacity) of five edible flowers: borage (Borage officinalis), calendula (Calendula arvensis), cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus), Johnny Jump up (Viola tricolor), and pansies (Viola × wittrockiana), together with their sensory attributes. The sensory analysis (10 panelists) indicated different floral, fruity, and herbal odors and taste. From a total of 117 volatile compounds (SPME–GC–MS), esters were most abundant in borage, sesquiterpenes in calendula, and terpenes in cosmos, Johnny Jump up, and pansies. Some bioactive and volatile compounds influence the sensory perception. For example, the highest content of total monomeric anthocyanins (cosmos and pansies) was associated with the highest scores of colors intensity, while the floral and green fragrances detected in borage may be due to the presence of ethyl octanoate and 1-hexanol. Therefore, the presence of some volatiles and bioactive compounds affects the sensory perception of the flowers.


Edible flowers Volatile compounds Sensory analysis Bioactive compounds 



The authors acknowledge the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, Portugal) for the financial support provided by the research grant [SFRH/BD/95853/2013] and FCT/MEC for the financial support to QOPNA research Unit [FCT UID/QUI/00062/2013], through national funds and when applicable co-financed by the FEDER, within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement, and to REQUIMTE through the Project [PEst/UID/QUI/50006/2013]. The authors are also grateful to FCT (Portugal) and FEDER under Programme PT2020 for financial support to CIMO (UID/AGR/00690/2013).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Compliance with ethics requirements

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luana Fernandes
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Susana Casal
    • 2
    Email author
  • José A. Pereira
    • 1
  • Ricardo Malheiro
    • 1
  • Nuno Rodrigues
    • 1
  • Jorge A. Saraiva
    • 3
  • Elsa Ramalhosa
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Centro de Investigação de Montanha (CIMO)/School of AgriculturePolytechnic Institute of BragançaBragançaPortugal
  2. 2.LAQV@REQUIMTE/Laboratory of Bromatology and Hydrology, Faculty of PharmacyPorto UniversityPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Organic Chemistry, Natural Products and Agrifood (QOPNA), Chemistry DepartmentUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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