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Reducing the current U.K. curing temperature from 28 to 20 °C would help to reduce energy costs; however, onion skin appearance and consumer acceptability may be detrimentally affected. The aim of this study was to elucidate the compounds responsible for the difference in color between brown and red onions cured at 20 and 28 °C by monitoring dynamic biochemical changes in the skin at set intervals during curing and after storage from two years' data. Sugar concentrations appeared to play no role in the difference in onion skin appearance when cured at different temperatures. Using regression, principal component, and partial least-squares discriminant analyses, the decrease in skin H° after the curing of brown onion cultivars at 28 °C was linked to a decrease in individual flavonol concentrations, possibly due to their oxidation at higher temperatures into brown pigmented compounds. Red onion cultivars cured at lower temperatures and for a shorter curing period had higher concentrations of individual anthocyanins as well as a darker skin color. Skin water content was reduced significantly in only the first 6 days of curing. Taken together, this suggests that current U.K. curing practice could be carried out at a lower temperature (20 °C) and/or for a shorter duration, resulting in reduced curing costs and possibly improved skin appearance.
Plant Science Laboratory, Cranfield University, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, United Kingdom.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of agricultural and food chemistry
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A plant in the genus ALLIUM, similar to ONIONS.
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Mildly aromatic herb in the Allium genus related to ONIONS and garlic used in SPICES.
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