Plant Genetic Resources

Research Article

Evaluation of tomato accessions for flavour and flavour-contributing components

Dilip R. Pantheea1 c1, Joanne A. Labatea2 and Larry D. Robertsona2

a1 Department of Horticultural Science, Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, North Carolina State University, Mills River, NC 28759, USA

a2 Plant Genetic Resources Unit, USDA-ARS, Geneva, NY 14456, USA


Flavour is one of the most highly demanded consumer traits of tomato at present; poor flavour is one of the most commonly heard complaints associated with modern varieties of tomato. In order to combine flavour with other desirable fruit traits in improved cultivars, it is important to determine how much variability exists in the crucial compounds that contribute most to flavour. The objective of the present study was to determine the variability of flavour-contributing components including total soluble solids (TSS) and total titratable acids (TTA) among other subjective traits related to flavour in a core collection of tomato accessions. The core collection was comprised of 173 tomato accessions with a wide genetic background from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Services (ARS) Plant Genetic Resources Unit repository. The TTA varied from 0.20 to 0.64%, whereas the TSS ranged from 3.4 to 9.0%, indicating the availability of broad variation for these traits. Rinon (PI 118783), Turrialba, Purple Calabash and LA2102 were among the high TTA (>0.45%) containing accessions, whereas those with high TSS (>7.0%) were AVRDC#6, Sponzillo and LA2102. A positive correlation of overall flavour with TTA (r= 0.33; P< 0.05) and TSS (r= 0.37; P< 0.05) indicated that these two components play an important role in determining the overall flavour in tomato. Subjectively measured other traits including fruity odour and fruity flavour had positive correlations with overall flavour. Overall flavour is discussed in the context of other traits including fruit firmness. Information obtained from this study may be useful for tomato breeders aiming to improve tomato flavour.

(Received September 13 2012)

(Accepted October 30 2012)

(Online publication December 03 2012)

Key Words:

  • core collection;
  • diversity analysis;
  • fruit quality;
  • Solanum lycopersicum


c1 Corresponding author. E-mail: