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PII: SO308-8146(97)00190-S

Volatiles of avocado fruit

Sin’gute Sinyinda & J. W. Gramshaw”

Procter Department of Food Science, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK

(Received 1 December 1995; accepted 8 August 1997)

Volatile constituents of avocado mesocarp were isolated by concurrent steam distillation/solvent extraction in the Likens-Nickerson apparatus using pentane- ether as solvent. The extracts which resulted were concentrated in a Kuderna- Danish concentrator and analysed using gas chromatography and linked gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) employing capillary columns of contrasting polarity. Hydrocarbons (mainly sesquiterpenes) and alkanals were the predominant constituents present. In the immediate extract of the avocado mesocarp, ,!?-caryophyllene (60%) was the main sesquiterpene, followed by (Y- humulene (5.9%), caryophyllene oxide (4X%), cr-copaene (4.5%) and a-cubebene

as the main hydrocarbons; alkanals were present, but only in low concentrations. In the extract prepared following storage (2 h) of the mesocarp at room temperature, #?-caryophylene (28.8%) was the main sesquiterpene, followed by a- copaene (10.7%) a cadinene isomer (8.5%), (Y-and fi-cubebene (7.7%) a-fame- sene (5.3%) and octane (4.8%) as principal hydrocarbons; decenal (6.3%) and heptenal (3.2%) were the main aldehydes. 0 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Food Chemistry, Vol. 62, No. 4, pp. 483487, 1998 0 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved hinted in Great Britain

0308-8146/98 $19.00+0.00


The avocado (Persea Americana mill.) belongs to the Lauraceae, a family of mainly (sub)tropical trees and shrubs; other well-known members are laurel, cinna- mon, saffras and green-heart (a timber of the Guianas). The English name derives from the Spanish word abogada, an adaptation of an Aztec word ‘ahuacatl’ which became avocat in French (Samson, 1980).

The chemical composition of the edible portion of the flesh is water 65-80%; protein l-4%; sugar about 1%; oil 3-30%. It is rich in vitamin B and moderately so in vitamins A and D. The oil, which is similar in composi- tion to olive oil, is highly digestible. Because of the high oil content, avocados have the highest energy value of any fruit. The high oil content also contributes to the consistency and the special taste of the fruit (Purseglove,

1969; Hurne, 1971; Ldtschert, 1981).

The avocado has been for thousands of years, and

still is, a popular food in Central America. It is a nutri- tious fruit but the sugar content is low; therefore, it can be recommended as a high energy food for the diabetic (Samson, 1980; Swisher, 1988). The high oil content of the fruit has attracted special attention with respect to its composition but relatively little work (Kikuta and

*To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Erickson, 1968; Tango et al., 1970; Abou-Aziz et al., 1973, Itoh et al., 1975; Iglesias et al., 1976; Swarts, 1976; Sciancalepore and de Dorbesscan, 1981; Turratti et al., 1985; Oleata et al., 1987; Gaydou et al., 1987; Torres et al., 1987; Whitfield et al., 1980) has been done on the

composition of the volatile components of avocado fruit and the present study, therefore, was undertaken to increase knowledge of the volatiles.



Fruit and chemicals

Avocado fruit from Israel was purchased from super- markets in Leeds. The water used was purified by extraction with pentane (24 h), followed by ether (24 h) in a Likens-Nickerson distillation/solvent extraction apparatus. Each solvent was distilled through a fractio- nating column containing Fenske helices before use. Alkane standards (n-C7 to n-C& were used in the measurement of retention indices of standards and components separated from the avocado extracts.

Pyridine, toluene, citral, heptanoic acid, cyclohexane,

hexanoic acid,

and anhydrous

BDH Chemicals

sabinene, myrcene, a-pinene, j?-pinene,

2,3-butanedione obtained from

and hexanal, benzaldehyde,

ethanol, sodium

ethyl acetate, sulfate were



Poole, England,

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