Special Reviews

Plant Volatile Compounds: Sensory Cues for Health and Nutritional Value?

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Science  10 Feb 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5762, pp. 815-819
DOI: 10.1126/science.1112614

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  1. Fig. 1.

    Taste and olfactory sensory stimulation are integrated with a variety of sensory inputs including visual, tactile, and nutrient-sensing from the gastrointestinal tract to generate the overall flavor perception of specific foods. Experience modulates flavor preferences and aversions.

  2. Fig. 2.

    Tomato fruits produce a volatile emission profile that is both attractive to humans and an indicator of ripeness. Of the more than 400 volatiles emitted by tomato fruits, only a small number, almost all of which are derived from essential human nutrients, are detected and integrated into a preferred volatile aroma. This pattern of volatile emissions is mutually beneficial. Thus, volatile emissions are both positive indicators for the presence in the fruit of compounds with positive health benefits and attractants that promote seed dispersal.

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