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Sensory analysis of the fruit juice of palmyrah palm (Borassus aethiopum): A decision making tool.

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Abstract:

Systematic training of panelists to generate terms that describe and quantify the sensory characteristics of Borassus juice enabled the profiling of the product. The experimental study was conducted at the University of Cocody (Ivory Coast). Sixteen students and employees were selected as judges based on willingness to consume Borassus juices and no history of negative allergic reactions. The judges were further screened using triangle tests and ability to determine varying intensities of selected descriptors for tropical fruit juices (sweetness, bitterness, sourness, saltiness). The training sessions were held twice a week for two months. Reference standards for each descriptor as well as unstructured scaling consisting of a horizontal 15 cm line with anchor points were used. A consumer test using a three point acceptability scale (tastes great, acceptable, unacceptable) was used. Bitterness was the dominant descriptor, followed by sweetness. Saltiness and sourness had minimum contribution to the taste of the juices. Sugars/ bitter compounds combination play an important role in the flavour characteristics and in the consumer acceptability. Free sugars were determined by HPLC in the extracted Borassus juice. The dominant sugar was sucrose (47 mg/ml) followed by glucose (24.6 mg/ml) and fructose (16.5 mg/ml). A glucose / fructose ratio close to 1, and a glucose+fructose/ sucrose ratio close to 1 both of which are good indexes of authenticity of Borassus juices. Majority of the consumer panel (93%) found the juice acceptable or excellent (tastes great). The results represent a major breakthrough for the improvement of the incomes of poor populations in savannah regions of Western Africa via the creation of juice processing units. Juice processing is a better alternative than wine making because sap harvesting methods leads to the death of the palm. The populations of Borassus are highly endangered due to the lack of reforestation of the degraded areas. Preservation of the biodiversity in rural areas will benefit from this research.

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