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Effect of organic production and fertilizer variables on the sensory properties of pac choi (Brassica rapa var. Mei Qing Choi) and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum var. Bush Celebrity)

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BACKGROUND: The increased popularity of organic production has amplified the need for research that will help in understanding how this production system affects the final quality of vegetables. The effects of organic and conventional production on the sensory characteristics of pac choi (often called bok choy) and tomato were studied. Samples were grown in high tunnel and field environments at the Kansas State University Horticulture Research Center located in Olathe, Kansas. Highly trained descriptive panelists from the Sensory Analysis Center at Kansas State University used previously developed flavor lexicons for tomatoes and leafy greens to evaluate the samples.

RESULTS: ANOVA at a 95% confidence level was used to detect significant differences between treatments for individual attributes. Crispness, green‐grassy/leafy, piney, and pungent attributes were normally higher in conventional pac choi only for the field samples. Pac choi grown in high tunnels showed slight differences only at individual amounts of fertilizer. Organic tomatoes grown in the field were generally juicier and less mealy compared to conventionally grown tomatoes. In the high tunnel, organic tomatoes were generally stronger in the characteristic tomato aroma. However, all differences generally were very small.

CONCLUSION: It can be concluded that organic and conventional production systems do not create major sensory differences in the vegetables evaluated. The few differences that do exist are so small they may not be of practical importance. Copyright © 2010 Society of Chemical Industry
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Keywords: flavor; organic; pac choi; sensory; tomato

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 30, 2010

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