by Marcia Wood, USDA Agricultural Research magazine
Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 9:04AM EST
As anyone who loves avocados will tell you, the perfect fresh avocado has a smooth, buttery texture and a rich, often nutty flavor.
Aroma is, of course, part of what we perceive as flavor. Scientists already know that Hass avocados, the kind that’s most widely sold in the United States, have at least 25 aroma compounds or, technically speaking, aroma volatiles. Though the word “aroma” might imply that they have a role in avocado flavor, the precise contribution of each of these aroma volatiles has, for the most part, not been well studied, according to Agricultural Research Service plant physiologist David Obenland at Parlier, California.
The aroma compound pentanal is a good example. It may be responsible for the nutty flavor of a ripe Hass avocado. Right now, however, there’s not enough scientific data to confirm that role, nor to indicate the amount of pentanal needed to impart the nutlike flavor, Obenland says. What’s more, no one knows whether other aroma chemicals in avocados contribute to this particular aroma.
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