Publications by authors named "Flavia Gasperi"

51 Publications

Does the 'Mountain Pasture Product' Claim Affect Local Cheese Acceptability?

Foods 2021 Mar 23;10(3). Epub 2021 Mar 23.

Research and Innovation Centre, Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Fondazione Edmund Mach, via E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all'Adige, Italy.

This paper aims to explore the impact of "mountain pasture product" information on the acceptability of local protected designation of origin (PDO) cheese produced from the raw milk of cows grazing in mountain pastures (P) or reared in valley floor stalls (S). A total of 156 consumers (55% males, mean age 41 years) were asked to evaluate their overall liking on a 9-point hedonic scale of four samples: Cheeses P and S were presented twice with different information about the origin of the milk (cows grazing on mountain pasture or reared in a valley floor stall). Demographics, consumer habits, and opinions on mountain pasture practice (MPP), attitudes towards sustainability, and food-related behaviours (i.e., diet, food waste production, organic food, and zero food miles products purchase) were recorded and used to segment consumers. The cheeses were all considered more than acceptable, even though they were found to be significantly different in colour and texture by instrumental analyses. In the whole consumer panel, the cheese P was preferred, while in consumer segments less attentive to product characteristics, this effect was not significant. External information had a strong effect: Overall liking was significantly higher in cheeses presented as "mountain pasture product", both in the whole panel and in consumer segments with different attitudes (except for those with a low opinion of MPP).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/foods10030682DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8005200PMC
March 2021

Understanding the effect of storage temperature on the quality of semi-skimmed UHT hydrolyzed-lactose milk: an insight on release of free amino acids, formation of volatiles organic compounds and browning.

Food Res Int 2021 03 11;141:110120. Epub 2021 Jan 11.

Department of Agriculture and Food Science, University of Naples, Federico II, 80055 Portici, NA, Italy. Electronic address:

Proteolytic side activity of the lactase preparations (LPs) intended for ultra-high temperature hydrolyzed-lactose milk (UHLM) production induces changes in the product quality during shelf-life. The problem is particularly relevant when the enzyme is added aseptically in the packaging ("in pack" process), while the negative quality effects can be mitigated following the "in batch" process adding the LP before thermal sterilization. In this study, we monitored the quality over time of UHLM produced "in batch" and stored at 4, 20, 30 and 40 °C focusing on proteolysis, volatiles organic compounds (VOCs) formation and color changes. The goal was to identify the key reactions and compounds relevant for the product quality. An increase in storage temperature determined significant changes in the free amino acids profile increasing Strecker aldehydes and methyl ketones formation. At 30 and 40 °C, Maillard reaction and lipid oxidation ended up in a modification of the milk color, whereas at 4 and 20 °C no significant alteration was observed. Altogether, the results suggested a coordinate involvement of Maillard reaction, protein and lipid oxidation to milk browning and off-flavors formation in UHLM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2021.110120DOI Listing
March 2021

Effect of CO Preservation Treatments on the Sensory Quality of Pomegranate Juice.

Molecules 2020 Nov 28;25(23). Epub 2020 Nov 28.

Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, via E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all'Adige, Italy.

Due to the interest in identifying cost-effective techniques that can guarantee the microbiological, nutritional, and sensorial aspects of food products, this study investigates the effect of CO preservation treatment on the sensory quality of pomegranate juice at t and after a conservation period of four weeks at 4 °C (t). The same initial batch of freshly squeezed non-treated (NT) juice was subjected to non-thermal preservation treatments with supercritical carbon dioxide (CO), and with a combination of supercritical carbon dioxide and ultrasound (CO-US). As control samples, two other juices were produced from the same NT batch: A juice stabilized with high pressure treatment (HPP) and a juice pasteurized at high temperature (HT), which represent an already established non-thermal preservation technique and the conventional thermal treatment. Projective mapping and check-all-that-apply methodologies were performed to determine the sensory qualitative differences between the juices. The volatile profile of the juices was characterized by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The results showed that juices treated with supercritical CO could be differentiated from NT, mainly by the perceived odor and volatile compound concentration, with a depletion of alcohols, esters, ketones, and terpenes and an increase in aldehydes. For example, in relation to the NT juice, limonene decreased by 95% and 90%, 1-hexanol decreased by 9% and 17%, and camphene decreased by 94% and 85% in the CO and CO-US treated juices, respectively. Regarding perceived flavor, the CO-treated juice was not clearly differentiated from NT. Changes in the volatile profile induced by storage at 4 °C led to perceivable differences in the odor quality of all juices, especially the juice treated with CO-US, which underwent a significant depletion of all major volatile compounds during storage. The results suggest that the supercritical CO process conditions need to be optimized to minimize impacts on sensory quality and the volatile profile.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules25235598DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7730496PMC
November 2020

Arousal influences olfactory abilities in adults with different degree of food neophobia.

Sci Rep 2020 11 25;10(1):20538. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Center Agriculture Food Environment, University of Trento, Via E. Mach, 1, 38010, San Michele all'Adige, TN, Italy.

Food neophobia, i.e., the aversion to novel foods, and olfaction are both factors strongly affecting food choices. Mounting evidence suggests a higher arousal towards food as a key factor underlying the reluctance to eat what is unfamiliar to us. As the role of olfaction behind this phenomenon is poorly understood, we explored the associations between food neophobia and trait anxiety, olfactory functions (odor threshold, discrimination and identification) and retronasal aroma release from a reference food in a healthy cohort of 83 adult volunteers. We grouped participants in Low-Neophobics or neophilics (n = 35), Medium-Neophobics (n = 32) and High-Neophobics (n = 16) according to the widely recognized Food Neophobia Scale. Participants with higher neophobic tendencies were found to have marginally higher trait anxiety levels than neophilics (p = 0.10). A lower global olfactory functioning and odor discrimination abilities characterized High-Neophobics, while Medium-Neophobics showed a higher odor sensitiveness than Low-Neophobics. Lastly, High-Neophobics showed a lower extent of retronasal aroma release, likely due to a shorter duration of oral processing and higher anxiety-related physiological responses (such as breathing rate). In summary, this study supports the assumption that the conflicting relationship that neophobics have with food may be led by higher levels of arousal toward foods, rather than different chemosensory functions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-77428-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7689524PMC
November 2020

Chemical and sensory changes during shelf-life of UHT hydrolyzed-lactose milk produced by "in batch" system employing different commercial lactase preparations.

Food Res Int 2020 10 16;136:109552. Epub 2020 Jul 16.

Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, via E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all'Adige, TN, Italy; Center Agriculture Food Environment University of Trento/Fondazione Edmund Mach, via E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all'Adige, TN, Italy. Electronic address:

Manufacturing shelf-stable Ultra-high temperature hydrolyzed-lactose milk (UHLM) is a challenge for dairy producers, as the product undergoes chemical changes during storage due to both reducing sugars reactivity and proteolysis arising from the impurity of the lactase preparations. In the present study, the "in batch" production system, which includes the addition of the lactase before the thermal treatment, was demonstrated a valuable alternative to the more popular "in pack" system, where lactase is added directly into each milk package after thermal sterilization. The features of the technology were investigated by monitoring the changes in free amino acids, volatile organic compounds, color and sensory properties of UHLMs produced with three different lactase preparations (LPs), up to 120 days at 20 °C. Upon UHT processing, the proteolytic side activity of lactases was minimized, so minimum breakdown of milk protein was achieved. The release of free amino acids was dependent on the lactase purity only in the early production phases, whereas it did not change over time. The Strecker aldehydes benzaldehyde and 2-methylbutanal resulted as effective markers to correlate with the initial lactase purity during storage. Color and sensory slightly changed during storage but were poorly correlated with the different lactases, resembling to phenomena typical of milk aging. This latter result suggested that production costs might be lowered by opting for less-purified lactases when considering the "in batch" technology, supporting the application of this production system for the design of UHLM with high-quality standards and low risk of alterations during shelf-life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2020.109552DOI Listing
October 2020

Gender, Age, Geographical Area, Food Neophobia and Their Relationships with the Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet: New Insights from a Large Population Cross-Sectional Study.

Nutrients 2020 Jun 15;12(6). Epub 2020 Jun 15.

Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences, University of Milan, Via Celoria 2, 20133 Milano, Italy.

The Mediterranean diet (MD) is associated with many health benefits. The association between the MD and food neophobia (FN) is still unexplored in adults. The present cross-sectional study was aimed to explore the relationships between adherence to the MD, FN, and sociodemographic variables in a large Italian cohort. Familiarity and frequency use (FFI) of prototypical and non-prototypical Mediterranean foods were used to calculate a new adherence index: the Italian Taste Mediterranean Index (ITMI). The FFI of all Mediterranean foods increased with age, while butter, soft drinks, red/cured meat, and sweets were more common in younger people. Accordingly, ITMI increased with age (F = 54.11; < 0.0001). Women recorded a higher ITMI (6.70) than men (6.10). Individuals with high FN showed higher FFI for soft drinks and sweets and lower ones for most typical MD foods, than individuals with low FNs. A decrease of ITMI was recorded with the increase of the FN(F = 22.84; < 0.0001). With ageing, ITMI increased even in individuals with a high FN. The results suggest that FN may negatively affect adherence to the MD, lowering its potential health benefits, in the adult population. Monitoring of food habits, dietary education, and anxiety management, may be valuable tools to control FN and support the adherence to the MD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu12061778DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7353239PMC
June 2020

Effect of Feeding Adaptation of Italian Simmental Cows before Summer Grazing on Animal Behavior and Milk Characteristics.

Animals (Basel) 2020 May 11;10(5). Epub 2020 May 11.

Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy.

According to the alpine transhumance system, dairy cows are moved from indoor feeding with conserved forage to fresh herbage feeding on pasture. The aim of this study was to assess, as a feeding adaptation technique, the effect of a gradual inclusion of fresh herbage in the diet of Italian Simmental dairy cows before their transfer to alpine pasture on performance, behavior, and milk characteristics. Eighteen cows were assigned to three groups: animals transferred to alpine pasture with a 10-d feeding adaptation period consisting in gradual access to a pasture close to the valley farm (GT), animals transferred to alpine pasture without a feeding adaptation period (AT), and animals kept in the valley farm (IND). During the first two weeks of summer grazing, GT and AT showed higher rumination time and different concentrations of ketones, hydrocarbons, organic acids, toluene, alcohols, phenols, and dimethyl sulfone in milk as compared to IND, whereas no differences were found in milk yield, composition, or coagulation properties. No differences between GT and AT were evident for the studied variables. The feeding adaptation technique used in this study did not influence the performance and milk characteristics of Italian Simmental dairy cows grazing on alpine pasture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani10050829DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7278462PMC
May 2020

Application of PTR-TOF-MS for the quality assessment of lactose-free milk: Effect of storage time and employment of different lactase preparations.

J Mass Spectrom 2020 Nov 25;55(11):e4505. Epub 2020 Feb 25.

Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, via E. Mach 1, San Michele all'Adige, TN, 38010, Italy.

Lactose-free dairy products undergo several chemical modifications during shelf life because of the reactivity of glucose and galactose produced by the lactose enzymatic hydrolysis. In this study, proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS), coupled with a time-of-flight (TOF) mass analyzer, was applied to get an insight on the phenomena occurring during the shelf life of ultrahigh-temperature (UHT) lactose-free milk (LFM). UHT LFMs produced by three different commercial lactase preparations were evaluated during storage at 20°C over a 150 days period, sampling the milk every 30 days. Production was repeated three times, on three consecutive weeks, in order to take milk variability into consideration. Principal component analysis applied to the whole "volatilome" data demonstrated the capability of PTR-TOF-MS in detecting the milk batch-to-batch variability: Freshly produced milk samples were distinguished based on the week of production at the beginning of shelf life. Additionally, a clear evolution of the volatiles organic compounds (VOCs) profiling during storage was highlighted. Further statistical analysis confirmed VOCs temporal evolution, mostly because of changes in methyl ketones concentration. Differences caused by the commercial lactases did not emerged, except for benzaldehyde. Altogether, data demonstrated PTR-TOF-MS analysis as a valuable and rapid method for the detection of changes in the VOCs profiling of UHT LFM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jms.4505DOI Listing
November 2020

The volatile organic compound profile of ripened cheese is influenced by crude protein shortage and conjugated linoleic acid supplementation in the cow's diet.

J Dairy Sci 2020 Feb 27;103(2):1377-1390. Epub 2019 Nov 27.

Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and the Environment (DAFNAE), University of Padua, Viale dell'Università 16, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy.

A shortage in crude protein (CP) and supplementation of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) in the diets of dairy cows could improve the dairy industry's ecological footprint and the nutritional value of milk, but it is not known what effect such a strategy might have on the aroma profiles of dairy products. The aim of this work was to study the effects of reducing the dietary CP content (from 150 to 123 g/kg of dry matter), with or without a supply of rumen-protected CLA (7.9 g/d C18:2 cis-9,trans-11 and 7.7 g/d C18:2 trans-10,cis-12), on the volatile organic compound (VOC) profile of cheeses ripened for 3 mo. Twenty mid-lactation Holstein-Friesian cows were reared in 4 pens (5 to a pen), and fed 4 different experimental diets over 4 periods of 3 wk each, following a 4 × 4 Latin square design. Twice in each period, 10-L milk samples were taken from each group and used to produce 32 cheeses, which we then analyzed for VOC by solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. We detected 48 VOC belonging to 10 chemical classes (11 alcohols, 8 ketones, 8 esters, 7 acids, 4 aldehydes, 4 sulfurs, 2 lactones, 2 phenolic, 1 monoterpene, 1 hydrocarbon); these were expressed as concentrations in cheese (quantitative data) or as proportions of total VOC (qualitative data). The results of mixed model analysis showed that the majority of VOC families and individual VOC in ripened cheese were affected by the dietary treatments: CP shortage depressed the concentrations of volatile aldehydes and increased the proportions of some esters and limonene, whereas CLA increased the concentration of total VOC, particularly several acids and esters, and decreased the proportions of ketones and phenolic compounds. The interaction between dietary CP and CLA affected the proportions of alcohols and acids. We performed a factor analysis to extract 5 latent explanatory variables from the individual VOC, which represented 79% of total VOC variance for the quantitative data and 78% for the qualitative data. Addition of CLA decreased the first qualitative factor (the "base aroma" of cheese, explaining 44% of total variance), whereas CP reduction increased the second quantitative factor ("ethyl esters," 15% of total variance) and the third qualitative factor ("butan-," 9% of total variance). In summary, the VOC profile of ripened cheese was heavily influenced by CP content and CLA supplementation in the diets of dairy cows, but the effect on sensorial properties of cheese is also worth considering.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2019-16495DOI Listing
February 2020

Investigating the Effect of Artificial Flavours and External Information on Consumer Liking of Apples.

Molecules 2019 Nov 26;24(23). Epub 2019 Nov 26.

Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM), Via E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all'Adige, Italy.

In this paper, the influence of flavour modification, artificially induced, on consumer acceptability of apple fruit is studied. The method consists of modifying the flavour of a real food matrix dipping apples into flavour solutions. Two flavouring compounds (linalool and anethole) that were responsible of "floral" and "anise" aroma descriptors, respectively, were considered here. The effectiveness of flavouring treatments was confirmed by instrumental analysis of volatile compounds profile using solid-phase microextraction gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (SPME/GC-MS) and by discriminative and descriptive sensory analyses. The effect of flavour-impact was evaluated in an informed test on the two flavoured 'Fuji' apples: the consumers were asked to evaluate the global liking of the treated and non-treated apples with information regarding the aromatic features. Participants' additional data on the characteristics on their "ideal apple", attitudes toward natural food, food neophobia, and demographic data were also recorded by specific questionnaires. A statistically significant effect on liking was found for the flavour factor, whereas external information only affected apple acceptance for subgroups of consumers, depending on their attitude towards food.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules24234306DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6930502PMC
November 2019

Integrated PTR-ToF-MS, GWAS and biological pathway analyses reveal the contribution of cow's genome to cheese volatilome.

Sci Rep 2018 11 19;8(1):17002. Epub 2018 Nov 19.

Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment (DAFNAE), University of Padua, Viale dell'Università 16, 35020, Legnaro, Padua, Italy.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are small molecules that contribute to the distinctive flavour of cheese which is an important attribute for consumer acceptability. To investigate whether cow's genetic background might contribute to cheese volatilome, we carried out genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and pathway-based analyses for 173 spectrometric peaks tentatively associated with several VOCs obtained from proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS) analyses of 1,075 model cheeses produced using raw whole-milk from Brown Swiss cows. Overall, we detected 186 SNPs associated with 120 traits, several of which mapped close to genes involved in protein (e.g. CSN3, GNRHR and FAM169A), fat (e.g. AGPAT3, SCD5, and GPAM) and carbohydrate (e.g. B3GNT2, B4GALT1, and PHKB) metabolism. Gene set enrichment analysis showed that pathways connected with proteolysis/amino acid metabolism (purine and nitrogen metabolism) as well as fat metabolism (long-term potentiation) and mammary gland function (tight junction) were overrepresented. Our results provide the first evidence of a putative link between cow's genes and cheese flavour and offer new insights into the role of potential candidate loci and the biological functions contributing to the cheese volatilome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-35323-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6242841PMC
November 2018

Individual Variation in PROP Status, Fungiform Papillae Density, and Responsiveness to Taste Stimuli in a Large Population Sample.

Chem Senses 2018 11;43(9):697-710

CREA-Research Centre on Food and Nutrition, Rome, Italy.

Despite considerable research investigating the role of 6-n-propylthiouracil bitterness perception and variation of fungiform papillae density in food perception, this relationship remains controversial as well as the association between the 2 phenotypes. Data from 1119 subjects (38.6% male; 18-60 years) enrolled in the Italian Taste project were analyzed. Responsiveness to the bitterness of 6-n-propylthiouracil was assessed on the general Labeled Magnitude Scale. Fungiform papillae density was determined from manual counting on digital images of the tongue. Solutions of tastes, astringent, and pungent sensations were prepared to be moderate/strong on a general Labeled Magnitude Scale. Four foods had tastants added to produce 4 variations in target sensations from weak to strong (pear juice: citric acid, sourness; chocolate pudding: sucrose, sweetness; bean purée: sodium chloride, saltiness; and tomato juice: capsaicin, pungency). Women gave ratings to 6-n-propylthiouracil and showed fungiform papillae density that was significantly higher than men. Both phenotype markers significantly decreased with age. No significant correlations were found between 6-n-propylthiouracil ratings and fungiform papillae density. Fungiform papillae density variation does not affect perceived intensity of solutions. Responsiveness to 6-n-propylthiouracil positively correlated to perceived intensity of most stimuli in solution. A significant effect of fungiform papillae density on perceived intensity of target sensation in foods was found in a few cases. Responsiveness to 6-n-propylthiouracil positively affected all taste intensities in subjects with low fungiform papillae density whereas there were no significant effects of 6-n-propylthiouracil in those with high fungiform papillae density. These data highlight a complex interplay between 6-n-propylthiouracil status and fungiform papillae density and the need of a critical reconsideration of their role in food perception and acceptability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/chemse/bjy058DOI Listing
November 2018

Variability in volatile compounds from lipoxygenase pathway in extra virgin olive oils from Tuscan olive germoplasm by quantitative SPME/GC-MS.

J Mass Spectrom 2018 Sep 30;53(9):824-832. Epub 2018 Aug 30.

Trees and Timber Institute-National Research Council of Italy (CNR-IVALSA) Via Aurelia 49, 58022, Follonica, Italy.

A quantitative method, based on SPME GC-MS, for the quantification of volatile compounds derived from lipoxygenase pathway, considered the most important for the aroma of high-quality olive oil, was developed. The method was used to study the variation within the extra virgin olive oils from 67 cultivars of the Tuscan olive germplasm conserved at "Santa Paolina" experimental farm (Follonica, Italy). A great variability was observed among the 67 cultivars both for the total amount of volatile compounds and for the different ratios between the groups of volatile compounds from common precursors. The aim was to obtain basic information on the characteristics and the quality of the oils obtainable from nonwidely cultivated olive varieties. These data can support the reintroduction in the production chain of old autochthonous varieties and for exploitation in breeding programs as a source of positive characters to transmit to the progeny.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jms.4274DOI Listing
September 2018

Application of a sensory-instrumental tool to study apple texture characteristics shaped by altitude and time of harvest.

J Sci Food Agric 2018 Feb 5;98(3):1095-1104. Epub 2017 Sep 5.

Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, San Michele all'Adige, Italy.

Background: Texture is important in the preferences of apple consumers. Of the pre-harvest factors affecting fruit quality and especially texture, altitude and subsequent climatic conditions are crucial, determining differences in the physiological mechanisms of fruit growth, ripening stage and chemical composition, as demonstrated by several studies. This work applies a detailed sensory-instrumental protocol developed in a previous paper to investigate the impact of altitude, time of harvest and their cross-effect on sensory characteristics of apple, with a focus on texture.

Results: Sensory differences were found in relation to altitude, although the profile results were mainly affected by the time of harvest. Fruit from lower altitude was described as juicier, crunchier and sweeter than samples from higher altitude, which were floury, sourer and more astringent. Texture performance, soluble solids content and titratable acidity corroborated this sensory description. Moreover, anatomical data showed that fruit from lower altitude had a larger volume, a higher number of cells and a higher percentage of intercellular spaces.

Conclusion: We demonstrated that differences between fruit from various altitudes can be perceived through human senses, and that the proposed sensory-instrumental tool can be used to describe such differences. This study brings more understanding about the impact of altitude and time of harvest on apple sensory properties. This work could support apple producers, from semi-mountainous regions (Alps, Tyrol, etc.), in advertising and valorising their products with their specific characteristics in a more efficient manner. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.8560DOI Listing
February 2018

PTR-ToF-MS Coupled with an Automated Sampling System and Tailored Data Analysis for Food Studies: Bioprocess Monitoring, Screening and Nose-space Analysis.

J Vis Exp 2017 05 11(123). Epub 2017 May 11.

Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM).

Proton Transfer Reaction (PTR), combined with a Time-of-Flight (ToF) Mass Spectrometer (MS) is an analytical approach based on chemical ionization that belongs to the Direct-Injection Mass Spectrometric (DIMS) technologies. These techniques allow the rapid determination of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), assuring high sensitivity and accuracy. In general, PTR-MS requires neither sample preparation nor sample destruction, allowing real time and non-invasive analysis of samples. PTR-MS are exploited in many fields, from environmental and atmospheric chemistry to medical and biological sciences. More recently, we developed a methodology based on coupling PTR-ToF-MS with an automated sampler and tailored data analysis tools, to increase the degree of automation and, consequently, to enhance the potential of the technique. This approach allowed us to monitor bioprocesses (e.g. enzymatic oxidation, alcoholic fermentation), to screen large sample sets (e.g. different origins, entire germoplasms) and to analyze several experimental modes (e.g. different concentrations of a given ingredient, different intensities of a specific technological parameter) in terms of VOC content. Here, we report the experimental protocols exemplifying different possible applications of our methodology: i.e. the detection of VOCs released during lactic acid fermentation of yogurt (on-line bioprocess monitoring), the monitoring of VOCs associated with different apple cultivars (large-scale screening), and the in vivo study of retronasal VOC release during coffee drinking (nosespace analysis).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3791/54075DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5607935PMC
May 2017

Exploring Blueberry Aroma Complexity by Chromatographic and Direct-Injection Spectrometric Techniques.

Front Plant Sci 2017 26;8:617. Epub 2017 Apr 26.

Genomics and Biology of Fruit Crop Department, Fondazione Edmund MachTrento, Italy.

Blueberry ( spp.) fruit consumption has increased over the last 5 years, becoming the second most important soft fruit species after strawberry. Despite the possible economic and sensory impact, the blueberry volatile organic compound (VOC) composition has been poorly investigated. Thus, the great impact of the aroma on fruit marketability stimulates the need to step forward in the understanding of this quality trait. Beside the strong effect of ripening, blueberry aroma profile also varies due to the broad genetic differences among species that have been differently introgressed in modern commercial cultivars through breeding activity. In the present study, divided into two different activities, the complexity of blueberry aroma was explored by an exhaustive untargeted VOC analysis, performed by two complementary methods: SPME-GC-MS (solid phase microextraction- gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) and PTR-ToF-MS (proton transfer reaction-time of flight-mass spectrometry). The first experiment was aimed at determining the VOC modifications during blueberry ripening for five commercially representative cultivars ("Biloxi," "Brigitta Blue," "Centurion," "Chandler," and "Ozark Blue") harvested at four ripening stages (green, pink, ripe, and over-ripe) to outline VOCs dynamic during fruit development. The objective of the second experiment was to confirm the analytical capability of PTR-ToF-MS to profile blueberry genotypes and to identify the most characterizing VOCs. In this case, 11 accessions belonging to different species were employed: . L. ("Brigitta," "Chandler," "Liberty," and "Ozark Blue"), Aiton ("Centurion," "Powder Blue," and "Sky Blue"), L. (three wild genotypes of different mountain locations), and one accession of Smith. This comprehensive characterization of blueberry aroma allowed the identification of a wide pull of VOCs, for the most aldehydes, alcohols, terpenoids, and esters that can be used as putative biomarkers to rapidly evaluate the blueberry aroma variations related to ripening and/or senescence as well as to genetic background differences. Moreover, the obtained results demonstrated the complementarity between chromatographic and direct-injection mass spectrometric techniques to study the blueberry aroma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2017.00617DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5405137PMC
April 2017

Sweet taste in apple: the role of sorbitol, individual sugars, organic acids and volatile compounds.

Sci Rep 2017 03 21;7:44950. Epub 2017 Mar 21.

Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, Via E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all'Adige, Italy.

Sweetness is one of the main drivers of consumer preference, and thus is given high priority in apple breeding programmes. Due to the complexity of sweetness evaluation, soluble solid content (SSC) is commonly used as an estimation of this trait. Nevertheless, it has been demonstrated that SSC and sweet taste are poorly correlated. Though individual sugar content may vary greatly between and within apple cultivars, no previous study has tried to investigate the relationship between the amount of individual sugars, or ratios of these, and apple sweetness. In this work, we quantified the major sugars (sucrose, glucose, fructose, xylose) and sorbitol and explored their influence on perceived sweetness in apple; we also related this to malic acid content, SSC and volatile compounds. Our data confirmed that the correlation between sweetness and SSC is weak. We found that sorbitol content correlates (similarly to SSC) with perceived sweetness better than any other single sugar or total sugar content. The single sugars show no differentiable importance in determining apple sweetness. Our predictive model based on partial least squares regression shows that after sorbitol and SSC, the most important contribution to apple sweetness is provided by several volatile compounds, mainly esters and farnesene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep44950DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5359574PMC
March 2017

From cow to cheese: genetic parameters of the flavour fingerprint of cheese investigated by direct-injection mass spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS).

Genet Sel Evol 2016 11 16;48(1):89. Epub 2016 Nov 16.

Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment (DAFNAE), University of Padua, Viale dell'Università 16, 35020, Legnaro, PD, Italy.

Background: Volatile organic compounds determine important quality traits in cheese. The aim of this work was to infer genetic parameters of the profile of volatile compounds in cheese as revealed by direct-injection mass spectrometry of the headspace gas from model cheeses that were produced from milk samples from individual cows.

Methods: A total of 1075 model cheeses were produced using raw whole-milk samples that were collected from individual Brown Swiss cows. Single spectrometry peaks and a combination of these peaks obtained by principal component analysis (PCA) were analysed. Using a Bayesian approach, we estimated genetic parameters for 240 individual spectrometry peaks and for the first ten principal components (PC) extracted from them.

Results: Our results show that there is some genetic variability in the volatile compound fingerprint of these model cheeses. Most peaks were characterized by a substantial heritability and for about one quarter of the peaks, heritability (up to 21.6%) was higher than that of the best PC. Intra-herd heritability of the PC ranged from 3.6 to 10.2% and was similar to heritabilities estimated for milk fat, specific fatty acids, somatic cell count and some coagulation parameters in the same population. We also calculated phenotypic correlations between PC (around zero as expected), the corresponding genetic correlations (from -0.79 to 0.86) and correlations between herds and sampling-processing dates (from -0.88 to 0.66), which confirmed that there is a relationship between cheese flavour and the dairy system in which cows are reared.

Conclusions: This work reveals the existence of a link between the cow's genetic background and the profile of volatile compounds in cheese. Analysis of the relationships between the volatile organic compound (VOC) content and the sensory characteristics of cheese as perceived by the consumer, and of the genetic basis of these relationships could generate new knowledge that would open up the possibility of controlling and improving the sensory properties of cheese through genetic selection of cows. More detailed investigations are necessary to connect VOC with the sensory properties of cheese and gain a better understanding of the significance of these new phenotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12711-016-0263-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5112698PMC
November 2016

Rapid non-invasive quality control of semi-finished products for the food industry by direct injection mass spectrometry headspace analysis: the case of milk powder, whey powder and anhydrous milk fat.

J Mass Spectrom 2016 Sep;51(9):782-91

Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM), via E. Mach 1, 38010, San Michele all'Adige, Italy.

In this study, we demonstrated the suitability of direct injection mass spectrometry headspace analysis for rapid non-invasive quality control of semi-finished dairy ingredients, such as skim milk powder (SMP), whole milk powder (WMP), whey powder (WP) and anhydrous milk fat (AMF), which are widely used as ingredients in the food industry. In this work, for the first time, we applied proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) with a time-of-flight (ToF) analyzer for the rapid and non-invasive analysis of volatile compounds in different samples of SMP, WMP, WP and AMF. We selected different dairy ingredients in various concrete situations (e.g. same producer and different expiration times, different producers and same days of storage, different producers) based on their sensory evaluation. PTR-ToF-MS allowed the separation and characterization of different samples based on the volatile organic compound (VOC) profiles. Statistically significant differences in VOC content were generally coherent with differences in sensory evaluation, particularly for SMP, WMP and WP. The good separation of SMP samples from WMP samples suggested the possible application of PTR-ToF-MS to detect possible cases of adulteration of dairy ingredients for the food industry. Our findings demonstrate the efficient and rapid differentiation of dairy ingredients on the basis of the released VOCs via PTR-ToF-MS analysis and suggest this method as a versatile tool (1) for the facilitation/optimization of the selection of dairy ingredients in the food industry and (2) and for the prompt innovation in the production of dairy ingredients. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jms.3801DOI Listing
September 2016

PTR-MS Characterization of VOCs Associated with Commercial Aromatic Bakery Yeasts of Wine and Beer Origin.

Molecules 2016 Apr 12;21(4):483. Epub 2016 Apr 12.

Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM), via E. Mach 1, San Michele all'Adige 38010, Italy.

In light of the increasing attention towards "green" solutions to improve food quality, the use of aromatic-enhancing microorganisms offers the advantage to be a natural and sustainable solution that did not negatively influence the list of ingredients. In this study, we characterize, for the first time, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with aromatic bakery yeasts. Three commercial bakery starter cultures, respectively formulated with three Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains, isolated from white wine, red wine, and beer, were monitored by a proton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometer (PTR-ToF-MS), a direct injection analytical technique for detecting volatile organic compounds with high sensitivity (VOCs). Two ethanol-related peaks (m/z 65.059 and 75.080) described qualitative differences in fermentative performances. The release of compounds associated to the peaks at m/z 89.059, m/z 103.075, and m/z 117.093, tentatively identified as acetoin and esters, are coherent with claimed flavor properties of the investigated strains. We propose these mass peaks and their related fragments as biomarkers to optimize the aromatic performances of commercial preparations and for the rapid massive screening of yeast collections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules21040483DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6274548PMC
April 2016

Monitoring of lactic fermentation driven by different starter cultures via direct injection mass spectrometric analysis of flavour-related volatile compounds.

Food Res Int 2015 Oct 30;76(Pt 3):682-688. Epub 2015 Jul 30.

Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM), via E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all'Adige, Italy. Electronic address:

In this work, we used Proton Transfer Reaction-Mass Spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS), coupled with an automated sampling system, to monitor lactic fermentation driven by different yogurt commercial starter cultures via direct injection mass spectrometric analysis of flavour-related volatile compounds. The aim is the identification of markers for real-time and non-invasive bioprocess control and optimisation as an industrial driver of innovation in food technology and biotechnology. We detected more than 300 mass peaks, tentatively identifying all major yogurt aroma volatiles. Thirteen mass peaks showed statistically significant differences among the four commercial starters. Among these are acetaldehyde, methanethiol, butanoic acid, 2-butanone, diacetyl, acetoin, 2-hydroxy-3-pentanone/pentanoic acid, heptanoic acid and benzaldehyde which play a key role in yogurt flavour. These volatile described the diverse flavour properties claimed by food biotechnological companies and, considering the possible contribution to yogurt flavour, are potential markers for the rapid screening of starter cultures and for the quality design in this fermentation-driven production. The strength of our approach lies in the identification, for the first time, of specific depletion kinetics of four sulphur containing compounds occurring during fermentation (hydrogen sulphide, methanethiol, S-methyl thioacetate/S-ethyl thioformate, pentane-thiol), which suggest a new possible protechnological feature of yogurt starter cultures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2015.07.043DOI Listing
October 2015

Immune-spaying as an alternative to surgical spaying in Iberian × Duroc females: Effect on the VOC profile of dry-cured shoulders and dry-cured loins as detected by PTR-ToF-MS.

Meat Sci 2015 Dec 27;110:169-73. Epub 2015 Jul 27.

Food Quality and Nutrition Department, IASMA Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach., Via E. Mach, 38010 San Michele all'Adige, TN, Italy.

Immunocastration in pigs has been proposed as a cruelty-free alternative to surgical castration. In this work the effect of immune-spaying of female pigs on the volatile compound profile of Iberian dry-cured products was evaluated. The head-space volatile compound of dry-cured shoulders and loins from surgically spayed, immune-spayed and entire Iberian × Duroc females was characterized by proton transfer reaction-time of flight-mass spectrometry. It was not possible to identify a significant effect of the castration modality on dry-cured shoulders, probably because of the heterogeneity of samples. Contrarily, Principal Component Analysis of dry-cured loins indicates a better homogeneity of samples and the separation of loins from surgically spayed and immune-spayed females. Some mass peaks tentatively identified as important flavor compounds in dry-cured products, 3-methylbutanal, 2,3-butanedione and 3-methylbutanoic acid, were significantly higher in the immune-spayed females. Therefore, immune-spaying seems to have a negligible effect on the volatile compound profile of dry-cured shoulders, whereas it could affect the VOC profile in the case of dry-cured loins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2015.07.018DOI Listing
December 2015

Volatile compounds of raspberry fruit: from analytical methods to biological role and sensory impact.

Molecules 2015 Jan 30;20(2):2445-74. Epub 2015 Jan 30.

Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, 38010 San Michele all'Adige (TN), Italy.

Volatile compounds play a key role in the formation of the well-recognized and widely appreciated raspberry aroma. Studies on the isolation and identification of volatile compounds in raspberry fruit (Rubus idaeus L.) are reviewed with a focus on aroma-related compounds. A table is drawn up containing a comprehensive list of the volatile compounds identified so far in raspberry along with main references and quantitative data where available. Two additional tables report the glycosidic bond and enantiomeric distributions of the volatile compounds investigated up to now in raspberry fruit. Studies on the development and evolution of volatile compounds during fruit formation, ripening and senescence, and genetic and environmental influences are also reviewed. Recent investigations showing the potential role of raspberry volatile compounds in cultivar differentiation and fruit resistance to mold disease are reported as well. Finally a summary of research done so far and our vision for future research lines are reported.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules20022445DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6272157PMC
January 2015

Volatile compound changes during shelf life of dried Boletus edulis: comparison between SPME-GC-MS and PTR-ToF-MS analysis.

J Mass Spectrom 2015 Jan;50(1):56-64

Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM), Via E. Mach, 1, 38010, S. Michele a/A, Italy.

Drying process is commonly used to allow long time storage of valuable porcini mushrooms (Boletus edulis). Although considered a stable product dried porcini flavour changes during storage. Monitoring of volatile compounds during shelf life may help to understand the nature of the observed changes. In the present work two mass spectrometric techniques were used to monitor the evolution of volatile compounds during commercial shelf life of dried porcini. Solid phase microextraction (SPME) coupled to gas chromatography - mass spectrometry (GC-MS) allowed the identification of 66 volatile compounds, 36 of which reported for the first time, monitored during the commercial shelf life of dried porcini. Proton transfer reaction - time of flight - mass spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS) , a direct injection mass spectrometric technique, was shown to be a fast and sensitive instrument for the general monitoring of volatile compound evolution during storage of dried porcini. Furthermore, PTR-ToF-MS grants access to compounds whose determination would otherwise require lengthy pre-concentration and/or derivatization steps such as ammonia and small volatile amines. The two techniques, both used for the first time to study dried porcini, provided detailed description of time evolution of volatile compounds during shelf life. Alcohols, aldehydes, ketones and monoterpenes diminish during the storage while carboxylic acids, pyrazines, lactones and amines increase. The storage temperature modifies the rate of the observed changes influencing the final quality of the dried porcini. We showed the advantages of both techniques, suggesting a strategy to be adopted to follow time evolution of volatile compounds in food products during shelf life, based on the identification of compounds by GC-MS and the rapid time monitoring by PTR-ToF-MS measurements in order to maximize the advantages of both techniques.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jms.3469DOI Listing
January 2015

PTR-ToF-MS characterisation of roasted coffees (C. arabica) from different geographic origins.

J Mass Spectrom 2014 Sep;49(9):929-35

Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM), Via E. Mach 1, 38010, San Michele all'Adige, Italy; Institut für Ionenphysik und Angewandte Physik, Leopold-Franzens Univ. Innsbruck, Technikerstr. 25, A-6020, Innsbruck, Austria.

Characterisation of coffees according to their origins is of utmost importance for commercial qualification. In this study, the aroma profiles of different batches of three monoorigin roasted Coffea arabica coffees (Brazil, Ethiopia and Guatemala) were analysed by Proton-Transfer-Reaction-Time of Flight-Mass Spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS). The measurements were performed with the aid of a multipurpose autosampler. Unsupervised and supervised multivariate data analysis techniques were applied in order to visualise data and classify the coffees according to origin. Significant differences were found in volatile profiles of coffees. Principal component analysis allowed visualising a separation of the three coffees according to geographic origin and further partial least square regression-discriminant analysis classification showed completely correct predictions. Remarkably, the samples of one batch could be used as training set to predict geographic origin of the samples of the other batch, suggesting the possibility to predict further batches in coffee production by means of the same approach. Tentative identification of mass peaks aided characterisation of aroma fractions. Classification pinpointed some volatile compounds important for discrimination of coffees.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jms.3455DOI Listing
September 2014

Proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry for the study of the production of volatile compounds by bakery yeast starters.

J Mass Spectrom 2014 Sep;49(9):850-9

Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM), via E. Mach 1, 38010, San Michele all'Adige, TN, Italy; Department of Chemistry, University of Balamand, P. O. Box 100, Tripoli, Lebanon; MR PAM-équipe VALMIS, IUVV, 1 rue Claude Ladrey, 21078, Dijon Cedex, France.

The aromatic impact of bakery yeast starters is currently receiving considerable attention. The flavor characteristics of the dough and the finished products are usually evaluated by gas chromatography and sensory analysis. The limit of both techniques resides in their low-throughput character. In the present work, proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS), coupled to a time-of-flight mass analyzer, was employed, for the first time, to measure the volatile fractions of dough and bread, and to monitor Saccharomyces cerevisiae volatile production in a fermented food matrix. Leavening was performed on small-scale (1 g) dough samples inoculated with different commercial yeast strains. The leavened doughs were then baked, and volatile profiles were determined during leavening and after baking. The experimental setup included a multifunctional autosampler, which permitted the follow-up of the leavening process on a small scale with a typical throughput of 500 distinct data points in 16 h. The system allowed to pinpoint differences between starter yeast strains in terms of volatile emission kinetics, with repercussions on the final product (i.e. the corresponding micro-loaves). This work demonstrates the applicability of PTR-MS for the study of volatile organic compound production during bread-making, for the automated and online real-time monitoring of the leavening process, and for the characterization and selection of bakery yeast starters in view of their production of volatile compounds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jms.3421DOI Listing
September 2014

Application of PTR-TOF-MS to investigate metabolites in exhaled breath of patients affected by coeliac disease under gluten free diet.

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci 2014 Sep 19;966:208-13. Epub 2014 Feb 19.

Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, IASMA Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM), Via E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all'Adige, Italy.

Coeliac disease (CD) is a common chronic inflammatory disorder of the small bowel induced in genetically susceptible people by the exposure to gliadin gluten. Even though several tests are available to assist the diagnosis, CD remains a biopsy-defined disorder, thus any non-invasive or less invasive diagnostic tool may be beneficial. The analysis of volatile metabolites in exhaled breath, given its non-invasive nature, is particularly promising as a screening tool of disease in symptomatic or non-symptomatic patients. In this preliminary study the proton transfer reaction time of flight mass spectrometry coupled to a buffered end-tidal on-line sampler to investigate metabolites in the exhaled breath of patients affected by coeliac disease under a gluten free diet was applied. Both H3O(+) or NO(+) were used as precursor ions. In our investigation no differences were found in the exhaled breath of CD patients compared to healthy controls. In this study, 33 subjects were enrolled: 16 patients with CD, all adhering a gluten free diet, and 17 healthy controls. CD patients did not show any symptom of the disease at the time of breath analysis; thus the absence of discrimination from healthy controls was not surprising.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchromb.2014.02.015DOI Listing
September 2014

Food neophobia and its relation with olfaction.

Front Psychol 2014 17;5:127. Epub 2014 Feb 17.

Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, San Michele all'Adige Italy.

Food neophobia, that is the reluctance to try novel foods, is an attitude that dramatically affects human feeding behavior in many different aspects among which food preferences and food choices appear to be the most thoroughly considered. This attitude has an important evolutionary meaning since it protects the individual from ingesting potentially dangerous substances. On the other hand, it fosters an avoidance behavior that can extend even toward useful food elements. A strong link exists between food neophobia and both the variety in one person's diet and previous exposures to different foods. In this review, the more recent findings about food neophobia will be concisely described. Given the suggested connection between the exposure to different foods and food neophobia, this review will focus on the relation between this attitude and human chemosensory abilities. Olfaction, in particular, is a sensory modality that has a central role in flavor perception and in food preference acquisition. Therefore, the latest evidences about its relation with food neophobia will be discussed along with the applied and cognitive implications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00127DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3925843PMC
June 2014

PTR-MS in Italy: a multipurpose sensor with applications in environmental, agri-food and health science.

Sensors (Basel) 2013 Sep 9;13(9):11923-55. Epub 2013 Sep 9.

Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM), Via E. Mach 1, San Michele all'Adige 38010, Italy.

Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) has evolved in the last decade as a fast and high sensitivity sensor for the real-time monitoring of volatile compounds. Its applications range from environmental sciences to medical sciences, from food technology to bioprocess monitoring. Italian scientists and institutions participated from the very beginning in fundamental and applied research aiming at exploiting the potentialities of this technique and providing relevant methodological advances and new fundamental indications. In this review we describe this activity on the basis of the available literature. The Italian scientific community has been active mostly in food science and technology, plant physiology and environmental studies and also pioneered the applications of the recently released PTR-ToF-MS (Proton Transfer Reaction-Time of Flight-Mass Spectrometry) in food science and in plant physiology. In the very last years new results related to bioprocess monitoring and health science have been published as well. PTR-MS data analysis, particularly in the case of the ToF based version, and the application of advanced chemometrics and data mining are also aspects characterising the activity of the Italian community.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/s130911923DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3821335PMC
September 2013

Food neophobia and its relation with olfactory ability in common odour identification.

Appetite 2013 Sep 28;68:112-7. Epub 2013 Apr 28.

Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM), Via E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all'Adige, TN, Italy.

Food neophobia is strictly connected with many different aspects of human feeding, ranging from food preferences to food choice, from active chemosensory exploration of the world (sniffing and tasting) to physiological responses associated with alertness. Therefore in this study, we tested the ability of 167 participants (54 women and 113 men, aged between 20 and 59 years old) to correctly identify 36 common odours, and we verified whether such ability could be related to their level of neophobia toward food and to demographic parameters (i.e., age, gender, and smoking habits). In the analyses, an advantage in odour identification abilities for non-neophobic people over more-neophobic participants was observed. As for participants' demographic information, a smaller reluctance to try new food in older than younger people was highlighted. The results of the present study suggest a connection between the attitude toward the exploration of the chemosensory environment and the ability to identify odours.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2013.04.021DOI Listing
September 2013