Volatile and nonvolatile chemical composition of some date fruits (Phoenix dactyliferaL.) harvested at different stages of maturity

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Physico-chemical and aroma volatile compositions of three date palm cultivars were studied throughout fruit maturation (besser, rutab and tamr stages) during 2008 harvest season. The studied parameters varied significantly through the different stages, with some variations also depending on the cultivar. Length and width of the three types of dates showed a progressive decrease during ripening. The pH level, total sugars and ash contents significantly increased up to tamr stage. Conversely, moisture, lipid and protein contents decreased. The profile of the volatile aroma compounds was evaluated using solid-phase micro-extraction. Sixty-nine compounds were detected during maturation, accounting from 98.5% to 99.6% at besser, 93.1% to 99.2% at rutab and 94.3% to 98.4% at tamr stages of the total identified volatiles. The present study sheds more light on chemical characteristics of the studied cultivars that can be used in many industrial processes.

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