Development of quality control tools and a taste prediction model for rooibos

by Bianca Jolley

Institution: Stellenbosch University
Department: Food Science
Degree: MScFoodSc
Year: 2014
Keywords: Food science; UCTD
Record ID: 1475312
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/95991


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this study quality control tools were developed for the rooibos industry, primarily to determine the quality of rooibos infusions. A considerable variation between samples of the same quality grade has been noted. As there are no guidelines or procedures in place to help minimise this inconsistency it was important to develop quality control tools, which could confront this problem. Both the sensory characteristics and phenolic composition of rooibos infusions were analysed in order to create and validate these quality control tools. Descriptive sensory analysis was used for the development of a targeted sensory wheel and sensory lexicon, to be used as quality control tools by the rooibos industry, and to validate the major rooibos sensory profiles. In order to ensure all possible variation was taken into account, 230 fermented rooibos samples were sourced from the Northern Cape and Western Cape areas within South Africa over a 3-year period (2011-2013). The aroma, flavour, taste and mouthfeel attributes found to associate with rooibos sensory quality were validated and assembled into a rooibos sensory wheel, which included the average intensity, as well as the percentage occurrence of each attribute. Two major characteristic sensory profiles prevalent within rooibos, namely the primary and secondary profiles, were identified. Both profiles had a sweet taste and an astringent mouthfeel, however, the primary sensory profile is predominantly made up of “rooibos-woody”, “fynbos-floral” and “honey” aroma notes, while “fruity-sweet”, “caramel” and “apricot” aroma notes are the predominant sensory attributes of the secondary profile. The predictive value of the phenolic compounds of the infusions towards the taste and mouthfeel attributes (“sweet”, “sour”, “bitter” and “astringent”) was examined using different regression analyses, namely, Pearson’s correlation, partial least squares regression (PLS) and step-wise regression. Correlations between individual phenolic compounds and the taste and mouthfeel attributes were found to be significant, but low. Although a large sample set (N = 260) spanning 5 years (2009-2013) and two production areas (Western Cape and Northern Cape, South Africa) was used, no individual phenolic compounds could be singled out as being responsible for a specific taste or mouthfeel attribute. Furthermore, no difference was found between the phenolic compositions of the infusions based on production area, a trend that was also seen for the sensory characterisation of rooibos infusions. Sorting, a rapid sensory profiling method was evaluated for its potential use as a quality control tool for the rooibos industry. Instructed sorting was shown to successfully determine rooibos sensory quality, especially based on the aroma quality of the infusions. However, determining the quality of the infusion based on flavour quality was more difficult, possibly due to the low sensory attribute intensities. Categorisation of rooibos samples based on the two major aroma profiles i.e. the…