Metabolomics and sensory studies to uncover asparagus flavour
Asparagus is a nutritious vegetable, loved for its delicate flavour. White asparagus is known in the Netherlands as the White Gold and is always in the spotlight in spring and early-summer. Unfortunately during one season, 30% of the fresh vegetable is discarded as waste due to marketing standards. Scientists are exploring new ways to upcycle this waste into valuable natural tasty food ingredients. One promising approach is to dry this waste into powders. To answer the question whether this waste and the powders are tasty, we need to know the flavour composition of asparagus and thus the composition of small molecules, a.k.a. metabolites. This thesis elucidates how the composition of metabolites and flavour of asparagus is affected by genetic, environmental and other factors. It shows how processed asparagus waste-streams into spray-dried powder outperformed commercial available dried ingredients. Thanks to combined metabolomics and sensory studies, this thesis provides a promising showcase for minimising agricultural waste but also maintaining the natural flavour of processed crops.