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J Chem Ecol. 2005 Oct;31(10):2309-22. Epub 2005 Sep 28.

Analysis of biogenic volatile organic compounds in zucchini flowers: identification of scent sources.

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CIFA La Mojonera, I.F.A.P.A., Junta de Andalucía, Autovia del Mediterráneo, sal. 420, 04745, La Mojonera, Almería, Spain.


An analytical method has been applied to determine volatile organic compounds in zucchini flowers. In a first step, the analytical method was applied to characterize the main scents emitted by whole male and female living flowers of three main commercial cultivars of zucchini (Tosca, Chapin, and Consul). In a second step, the compounds were quantified in different parts of the living flowers to identify the contribution of nectar, petals, anther, and stigma to the aroma profile of the flower. The analytical method is based on headspace solid-phase microextraction coupled on-line with GC and tandem MS detection (HS-SPME-GC-MS/MS). A reference compound is added to samples as part of the field quality control procedure to check for likely analyte losses or sample decomposition. The reference compound also acts as an internal standard for quantification purposes. Results have been statistically studied applying principal component analysis (PCA), which shows that three components explain more than 91% of the variance. PCA emphasizes the great importance of nectar as being the main source of 1,4-dimethoxybenzene and 1,2,4-trimethoxybenzene, which influence the aroma profile of flowers. The remaining components can be accounted for by emissions from petals and sexual organs (adroecium and gynoecium anthers or stigmas).

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