Printer Friendly

Juiced-up fruit: unbelievably flavorful.

Food scientists have harnessed natural enzymes to make fruits taste almost too good to be true. Ralf G. Berger and his colleagues at the University of Hanover (Germany) developed a technique for storing apples, pears and bananas in airtight containers along with different kinds of alcohols. The alcohols serve as building blocks, or precursors, for molecules called carboxylic esters, which impart fruity flavors. When the alcohols seep into the fruit, they cause the enzymes inside to increase their ester production by as much as 30-fold, Berger reports. His team tested the technique by measuring alcohol concentrations outside the fruit and ester concentrations inside the treated fruit at 32-hour intervals.

Taste tests verified the transfer and transformation of the precursors, Berger says. For example, six of nine people who sipped juices made from treated or untreated apples could distinguish between the two. However, a few tasters said they preferred the juice from untreated apples because they believed that only an artificial flavoring could make the other juice so fruity. "You can have too much," Berger admits. "The [treated fruits] are like perfume, they have so much flavor."

The technique also works well with bananas and pears, he reports, although it doesn't do much to enhance the taste of citrus fruits. And there's nothing artificial about it. "We use natural precursor substrates, and we're making use of the natural biosynthetic pathways," Berger says.

Treated fruits stay firmer longer, he adds, because the excess precursors slow down natural degradation. But it's important to use the right kind of alcohol for each fruit, or the treatment may impart a funny taste. "I can flavor you a banana that tastes like strawberries," he says. "But I don't think that would be really well received."
COPYRIGHT 1991 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:enzymes used to make stored fruit taste better
Author:Pennisi, Elizabeth
Publication:Science News
Date:Sep 14, 1991
Previous Article:Roomy clays host molecular guests.
Next Article:Eastern radon ranked by region.

Related Articles
One honey of an alternate to sulfites.
How to pick fresh fruit.
New packaging sweetens the taste of grapefruit juice
Fresh fruit and vegetable sauces.
Enzyme treatment improves attributes of carrot juice.
Inactivate enzymes using thermal-assisted high-pressure processing.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters