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"Consumers are able to recognize the differences between hydroponically and conventionally grown tomatoes"

"Hydroponics is a more environmentally friendly and economical way of growing crops that allows crops to be grown year-round. Tomatoes grown in this way should have a more pronounced aroma and flavor, and the fact that they are harvested at the ripe stage should also be reflected in the fresh red color and appropriate organoleptic characteristics of the fruit," a group of researchers explains. 

They conducted a study which was concerned with the sensory analysis of hydroponically grown tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) compared with conventionally grown tomatoes of the same species. Samples were evaluated by instrumental sensory analysis using an electronic nose as well as a sensory panel. In this study, the difference between hydroponically and conventionally grown tomatoes was demonstrated. These differences were also captured by the consumers (sensory panel).

When analyzing the scent profile of the samples, the team found that hydroponic tomatoes are characterized by the presence of chemical organic compounds, namely: 2-methylpropanol, 2,3-pentanedione, and (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol or 1-hexanol, which cause the fruity aroma of the fruit. "These substances are very likely to characterize the differences between the tested samples," they conclude.

The electronic nose has shown to be a potentially suitable tool for detecting differences and identifying typical product markers, which may suggest its further use in food authentication detection. It is also interesting to find almost no correlation between the two methods studied.

Read the complete research at

Korčok, Melina & Vietorisová, Nikola & Martišová, Patrícia & Štefániková, Jana & Mravcová, Anna & Vietoris, Vladimir. (2021). Aromatic Profile of Hydroponically and Conventionally Grown Tomatoes. Applied Sciences. 11. 8012. 10.3390/app11178012. 

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