Evaluation of Cooked Flavor for Fifteen Potato Genotypes and the Correlation of Sensory Analysis to Instrumental Methods

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Fifteen potato genotypes were evaluated for flavor and related components using sensory analysis, metabolite analysis, and an instrumental measurement of hardness over two growing seasons. Bake and boil cooking methods were also compared. Several sensory attributes had a significant variation in both years, where positive or negative correlations to overall quality determined desirable or undesirable attributes, respectively. Desirable attributes in both years were potato-like and mealy texture, while undesirable attributes were bitter, earthy, and other off-flavors. Significant desirable attributes limited to a single season were buttery, creamy, and sweet. Significant undesirable attributes restricted to a single season were aroma intensity and woody. Relative amounts of metabolites across genotype and cooking methods were significantly different for 14 metabolites in 2015 and 30 metabolites in 2016. Metabolites consisted of hydrocarbons, terpenes, alcohols, an acid, furans, aldehydes, ketones, as well as halogenic, nitrogenous, and sulfurous compounds. Flavor is an inherently complex phenotypic trait that is difficult to assess without subjective sensory analysis, however, flavor biomarkers may enable objective high-throughput flavor phenotyping. Candidate metabolites for potato flavor biomarkers found in this study include furfural for buttery, potato-like, and umami; 2-ethylfuran, 2-pentylfuran, isomenthone, methional, 2-phenylacetaldehyde, dimethyl trisfulfide, and 2,2,3,4-tetramethylpentane for potato-like; 3-methylpentane for aroma intensity, bitter, earthy, woody, and other off-flavors; 2-methoxy-3-propan-2-ylpyrazine for aroma intensity; 3,4,5-trimethyl-2-cyclopenten-1-one for bitter; pentan-1-ol for earthy; 2-pentylfuran, (E)-hept-2-enal, pentanal, and (E)-2-methylpent-2-en-1-ol for woody; and 5-methylhexan-2-one for other off-flavors. Further, instrumental measurements of hardness were negatively correlated to mealy texture. Biomarkers, if validated, have the potential to enable objective flavor phenotyping, which would allow for more efficient flavor improvement within conventional breeding programs.


Se evaluaron 15 genotipos de papa para sabor y compuestos relacionados usando análisis sensorial, metabólico, y medida instrumental de dureza en dos ciclos de cultivo. También se compararon métodos de cocinar de horneado y hervido. Varios atributos sensoriales tuvieron una variación significativa en ambos años, donde las correlaciones positivas o negativas sobre la calidad en general determinaron atributos deseables o indeseables, respectivamente. Los atributos deseables en ambos años fueron textura harinosa tipo papa, mientras que los atributos indeseables fueron lo amargo, sabor a tierra y otros sabores. Los atributos deseables significativos limitados a un solo ciclo fueron textura mantecosa, cremosa y dulce. Los atributos indeseables significativos restringidos a un solo ciclo fueron la intensidad del aroma a madera. Las cantidades relativas de metabolitos a lo largo de genotipo y métodos de cocinado fueron significativamente diferentes para 14 metabolitos en 2015 y 30 metabolitos en 2016. Los metabolitos consistieron de hidrocarbones, terpenos, alcoholes, un ácido, furanos, aldehídos, cetonas, así como compuestos halogénicos, nitrogenosos y sulfurosos. El sabor es un carácter inherente fenotípico complejo que es dificil de evaluar sin un análisis sensorial subjetivo. No obstante, los biomarcadores de sabor pudieran permitir fenotipar el sabor objetivamente y de alto impacto. Los metabolitos candidatos como biomarcadores de sabor en papa encontrados en este estudio incluyen furfural para lo mantecoso tipo papa, y umami; 2-etilfuran, 2-pentilfuran, isomentona, metional, 2-fenilacetaldehido, dimetil trisfulfido, y 2,2,3,4-tetrametilpentano para tipo papa; 3-metilpentano para la intensidad de aroma, sabor amargo, a tierra, a madera, y otros sabores desagradables; 2-metoxi-3-propan-2-ilpirazina para la intensidad del aroma; 3,4,5-trimetil-2-ciclopenteno-1-uno para lo amargo; pentano-1-ol para el sabor a tierra; 2-pentilfuran, (E)-hepto-2-enal, pentanal, y (E)-2-metilpenta-2-en-1-ol para sabor madera; y 5-metilhexano-2-uno para otros sabores. Mas aun, las mediciones instrumentales de dureza estuvieron correlacionadas negativamente a la textura harinosa. Los biomarcadores, si se validan, tienen el potencial de permitir el fenotipado objetivo del sabor, lo que permitiría mejoramiento del sabor mas eficiente dentro de los programas convencionales de mejoramiento.

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The Colorado Potato Administrative Committee Area II and the United States Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Grant Initiative graciously funded this project. We kindly thank the sensory panelists for their effort and commitment. Supplemental technical support was provided by Caroline Gray, Mike Gray, Diganta Kalita, and Katrina Zavislan.

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Correspondence to Sastry S. Jayanty.

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Figure S1

Pictures of potato genotypes evaluated in sensory and instrumental analyses (JPG 5925 kb)

Figure S2

Colored hierarchical clustering analysis of sensory attributes and instrumental measurements with significant differences across treatment effects (1–3) by genotype per cooking method (A-D) in 2015 (JPG 1519 kb)

Figure S3

Colored hierarchical clustering analysis of sensory attributes and instrumental measurements with significant differences across treatment effects (1–5) by genotype per cooking method (A-C) in 2016 (JPG 2001 kb)


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Bough, R.A., Holm, D.G. & Jayanty, S.S. Evaluation of Cooked Flavor for Fifteen Potato Genotypes and the Correlation of Sensory Analysis to Instrumental Methods. Am. J. Potato Res. 97, 63–77 (2020) doi:10.1007/s12230-019-09757-0

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  • Sensory analysis
  • Flavor metabolites
  • Flavor biomarkers
  • Hardness
  • Flavor improvement
  • Potato