This project started on Nov. 1st, 2019. So, this is the fifth quarterly report (11/15/20-2/15/21). There are two objectives in this project. The progress of each objective is listed here:
Objective 1. Evaluation of blended juice using released HLB-tolerant sweet orange/mandarin cultivars via analyses of sensory and consumer acceptance.
Sensory for Sugar Belle blended with Hamlin and Valencia were completed in the first year. For this fruit season, the second year of our project, we have been repeating the processing and sensory evaluation in order to see the quality consistence among different years. Bt the end of December 2020, we harvested Sugar Belle and Hamlin (as the early cultivar). In mid January, we processed both Sugar Belle and Hamlin juice. The sensory evaluation has been scheduled next week in February. The completed sensory and consumer study will include 1) a commercial product; 2) 90% Hamlin blended with 10% Sugar Belle; 3) 50% Hamlin blended with 50% Sugar Belle; 4) 100% Hamlin; 5) 100% Sugar Belle.The sensory attributes will include: sweetness, sourness, bitterness, overall flavor, orange flavor, overall liking and flavor liking etc. The consumer attitude toward mandarin blended orange juice will be included in the survey. In addition, they provided the price they would like to pay for each sample, which could provide more information on consumer liking regard each sample. The stability of Sugar Belle juice will be conducted in March.
Objective 2. Identify more tolerant cultivars resembling the quality of Valencia for the juice market, and identify a chemistry definition of consumer accepted orange flavor
We collected about 20 mandarin hybrids, pure mandarins and sweet orange in the first quarter and these cultivars have been identified with the great field performance. The trained sensory panel study started in the first quarter but stopped for the second quarter due to COVID-19. In the third quarter, we continued trained panel study for differentiating citrus flavor attributes such as sweet, citrusy, fruity, and flora etc.
In the fourth quarter, we have completed all the sensory studies for 20 cultivars collected. In the fourth quarter, we have also completed all the Gas-Chromatography analysis for all the aromas of 20 samples. In the current quarter (5th quarter), we have completed all non-volatile (e.g. taste compounds) analysis using LC-MS/MS. We are now correlating trained sensory data with analytical data (aroma and taste). Hope we can complete the correlation work by the end of next quarter. In addition, in this current quarter, we start to implement machine learning into defining mandarin and orange flavor profile using all published data. We are currently collecting data and trying the machine learning models. This part is expected to complete by the end of this project.