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Culinary herbs: determining the basis of variation in herb flavour

Contente, A. C. (2022) Culinary herbs: determining the basis of variation in herb flavour. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00114441


Culinary herbs such as basil (Ocimum basilicum), coriander (Coriandrum sativum) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinallis) are crops grown across the world for their healthy characteristics and distinct flavours. They can be consumed fresh or dried, in salads or as garnish, in soups, sauces or curries, forming essential ingredients in many cuisines. Research investigating the aroma profile of these herbs often excludes information about the variety, production type and other growing conditions resulting in inaccurate data conclusions. These variables have been described in published literature to have an impact on the flavour profile of other crops such as celery and lettuce. Basil, coriander and rosemary were grown using different production methods across several years (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021) and at multiple sites within the UK. The influence of factors including production methods, geographical location, production season and year on the aroma composition of these herbs was investigated. The aroma profile of the three herbs was determined using solid-phase microextraction gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Differences in volatile composition and influence on sensory perception were analysed using sensory profiling with a trained panel (n = 11). Finally, basil and coriander samples were presented to a consumer panel (n = 117 and n = 106, respectively) to identify consumer acceptance and attribute preference. Significant differences in the volatile composition were influenced by production method, plant maturity and environmental factors, leading to significant differences in the sensory profile. Temperatures between 10-20 ˚C resulted in higher proportions of monoterpenes and phenylpropanoids for rosemary and basil, and aldehydes for coriander, whilst the influence of soil, water source and lighting was herb specific. Consumer grouping identified two groups exhibiting differences in hedonic response to basil and coriander samples. Aroma and flavour intensity were identified as drivers of liking. Further studying the relationship between production variables and flavour of herbs will increase information to guide growers on how to produce a more consistent product that meets consumers expectations.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Wagstaff, C.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences
ID Code:114441


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