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J Agric Food Chem. 1998 Feb 16;46(2):611-615.

Characterization of Volatiles in Rambutan Fruit (Nephelium lappaceum L.).

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Department of Food Science and Technology, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, New York 14456.


The volatile compounds from the red-skinned cultivar of rambutan, Jitlee (Nephelium lappaceumL.), a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia, were extracted using both Freon 113 and ethyl acetate solvents. Isolation and characterization of odor-active compounds present in the fruit were mediated by gas chromatography/olfactory (GC/O), chromatography, and spectrometry. Authentic standards were used to determine mass spectral, retention index, and odor match. Of over 100 volatiles detected by GC/MS, twice as many polar volatiles were detected in the ethyl acetate extract as in the nonpolar Freon extract. GC/O analysis also detected more odor-active compounds in the polar extracts. Over 60 compounds in the extracts had some odor activity. The 20 most potent odorants included beta-damascenone, (E)-4,5-epoxy-(E)-2-decenal, vanillin, (E)-2-nonenal, phenylacetic acid, cinnamic acid, unknown 1 (sweaty), ethyl 2-methylbutyrate, and delta-decalactone. On the basis of calculated odor activity values, beta-damascenone, ethyl 2-methylbutyrate, 2,6-nonadienal, (E)-2-nonenal, and nonanal were determined to be the main contributors to the fruit aroma. Taken together, these results indicate that the exotic aroma character of rambutan is the interaction of fruity-sweet and fatty-green odors, with the possible contribution of "civet-like"-sweaty, spicy, and woody notes.


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