Mango is an exotic fruit, which grows mainly in warmer climates and is shipped to export markets around the world. Mangos often need to be harvested early to arrive in ripeness stage in the supermarket. The fruit has therefore little time on the plant to develop flavor. Also, the skin color of a mango is no indication of ripeness and flavor. Therefore the consumer has to test the firmness of each mango. This is undesirable for both consumer and the quality of the fruit.
To understand mango flavor and its correlation with ripeness, Metabolomic Discoveries has used its Flavor Profiler™ platform to screen for flavor components contributing to ripe and unripe mangos. The ultimate goal of this study is to define metabolites measurable on the skin of a mango to develop a simple test indication for ripeness and as such flavor.
A consumer panel scored the taste and degree of ripeness of 18 mangos. The Flavor Profiler™ platform was employed to screen for the metabolic composition and to develop a mathematical model linking taste and ripeness with the metabolic profiles. The built model shows that unripe can clearly be separated from ripe mangos (Figure 1).
Furthermore, taste metabolites differentiating good from bad taste can be clearly separated. When this model is fed with new mango samples, it allows to predict with a chance of over 80% their ripeness and taste (Figure 2).
Further in depth analysis of the data and studying the basis of the predictive model reveal that mainly sugar and sugar conjugates contribute to a ripe and flavorful mango experience, while organic acids and amino acids determine a rather unripe and negative taste experience.
Mango flavor can be linked to a set of metabolites and clearly linked to the degree of ripeness. With this knowledge it is only a little step to develop a consumer and mango friendly ripeness and flavor test.
Figure 1. Ripeness and Taste Model Figure 2: Taste prediction model. 0, bad taste; 5 excellent taste.