Floral scent: From sensorial to instrumental evaluation
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Floral scent plays a crucial role in the interactions between plants and their environment, and is composed of several to many volatile compounds. From the aesthetic point of view, floral scent is one of the characters most appreciated in flowers, although it is a very variable trait that is frequently acquired and lost throughout evolution. Thus, this character is not often included as a target for ornamental plant-breeding programmes. Several methodologies have been described for floral scent evaluation, both sensorial and instrumental. Considering the importance of this character for the flower market industry, this study focused on the evaluation of floral scent of three scented cut-flowers: Lilium 'Sweetness', Freesia 'Oberon' and 'semi-double' chrysanthemum. Sensorial evaluation was performed by 78 untrained individuals, and floral scent composition was evaluated by using GC-MS. Freesia showed the highest acceptability, although it was the sample that contained the smallest number of volatile compounds. Chrysanthemum presented the largest number of volatile compounds. For the oriental lily, the sensorial panel designated it as the one with the highest intensity of scent. This was in agreement with the analytical results, because this flower showed relative volatile abundance over a thousand times that of chrysanthemum and freesia. Sensorial and instrumental evaluation showed different results; therefore, it is important to combine and associate these two techniques in order to achieve valuable evaluation of floral scent.
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