Numerous and diverse physiological changes occur during fruit ripening and maturity at harvest is one of the key factors influencing the flavor quality of fruits. The effect of ripening on chemical composition, physical parameters and sensory perception of three muskmelons (Cucumis melo L. reticulatus group) cultivars was evaluated. Significant correlations emerging from this extensive data set are discussed in the context of identifying potential targets for melon sensory quality improvement. A portable ultra-fast gas-chromatograph coupled with a surface acoustic wave sensor (UFGC-SAW) was also used to monitor aroma volatile concentrations during fruit ripening and evaluated for its ability to predict the sensory perception of melon flavor. UFGC-SAW analysis allowed the discrimination of melon maturity stage based on 6 measured peaks, whose abundance was positively correlated to maturity-specific sensory attributes. Our findings suggest that this technology shows promise for future applications in rapid flavor quality evaluation.
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