Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Li Li Zyzak


The objective of this research was to decode the flavor of Asimina triloba, or the pawpaw fruit, to identify and quantitate the aroma-active compounds that are present. Gas chromatography – olfactometry (GC-O) was applied on capillary GC columns with various means of extraction. The volatile compounds present were extracted using both headspace solid phase micro-extraction (HS-SPME) for 30 minutes at 23°C and 50°C, and solvent extraction using methylene chloride. The sample extracts were analyzed with both gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and gas chromatography – olfactometry (GC-O). To eliminate potential artifacts that were observed when using HS-SPME at 50°C, the study focused on analyzing the SPME samples performed at 23°C and solvent extraction for characterization of the aroma compounds within the pawpaw fruit. Throughout this study, forty-four aroma-active compounds were observed. Of the forty-four compounds, fifteen were identified for the first time within the pawpaw fruit. Acetaldehyde, diacetyl, eugenol, homofuraneol, delta-octalactone, gamma-octalactone, and vanillin are a few of the recently identified odor-active compounds. It was observed that these odor-active compounds had high flavor dilution (FD) factors. The esters within the pawpaw alongside these high intensity aroma-active compounds contribute to the unique aroma associated with the pawpaw fruit. The odor has often been described as tropical, creamy, sweet, and a mixture of banana, mango, and pineapple-like. In addition, some of these flavor compounds were quantitated and comparisons were made to different cultivars as well as during the ripening stage. These results identified one marker compound (3-hydroxy ethyl butyrate) as a potential way to distinguish Mango pawpaw cultivar from others. Overall, this work provides a good foundation for future pawpaw researchers who may try to understand the flavor differences of various pawpaw cultivars.

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Chemistry Commons