- 'Marion' blackberry is known for having excellent aroma and flavor, yet they are susceptible to damage by freezing and they are very thorny. Thornless blackberry cultivars have been developed and show great potential. Thus, the interest of the study was in determining which of eight thornless blackberry cultivars, have similar sensory characteristics to 'Marion'. The objectives of this study were to develop a lexicon of sensory descriptors for blackberry through descriptive panel profiling and to rate the intensities of those descriptors for thornless blackberry selections and 'Marion'.
Twelve trained panelists evaluated blackberry puree from 9 cultivars ('Marion', 'Chester', 'Waldo', 'Thornless Evergreen', ORUS 1380-1, ORUS 1486-2, ORUS 1843-3, NZ 9128R-1, and NZ 9351-4). Twenty-one descriptors were developed to describe blackberry aroma and basic tastes. Aromas generally were
described as floral, fresh fruit (strawberry, raspberry, citrus), cooked fruit (prunes, cooked berry), vegetal (green beans, woody, stemmy, grassy, moldy), grainy, vinyl, and wet cardboard. Blackberry basic tastes and mouth feel included sweet, sour, bitter, and astringent. 'Marion' was primarily defined by being high in one aroma descriptor, fresh fruit (strawberry, raspberry, and citrus). Some of the remaining cultivars were more complex, being high in cooked fruits, vegetal, and woody aroma. Results showed that all descriptors were significantly different among cultivars (p<O.O5) as determined by multivariate analysis of variance. Cultivars were separated in sensory
space according to their aroma and taste characteristics through mapping of the samples by principle component analysis. Through principal component analysis mapping, it was shown that two cultivars, ORUS 1380-1 and NZ 9128R-1, were closest to 'Marion'. The results from the sensory evaluation analysis for 'Marion' and 'Thornless Evergreen' were compared to previously published research on blackberry flavor. The aroma compound analyses were conducted using gas chromatography methods.
The flavor dilution factors from gas chromatography/ olfactometry and odor activity values for each compound found in 'Marion' and 'Thornless Evergreen' were 4 reported. Gas chromatography/ olfactometry results were compared to odor activity values; only a few of the same compounds were recognized as being important. Although these data sets were compared to the sensory descriptive analysis results, because of probable masking of fruity aroma by vegetal and woody aromas, cause
and effect was difficult to predict.