Why does the flavour of fruit change when it's bruised?

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Offline thedoc

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George Dimery  asked the Naked Scientists:
   Hi Naked Scientists,

I was wondering if you could tell me why the flavour or fruit changes drastically when it gets bruised?



What do you think?
« Last Edit: 21/05/2016 01:50:01 by _system »


Offline evan_au

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Re: Why does the flavour of fruit change when it's bruised?
« Reply #1 on: 22/05/2016 03:40:06 »
I think it depends a lot on the fruit involved...

When fruit gets bruised:
  • The texture changes dramatically
  • Sometimes the color changes dramatically
  • In some cases, enzymes are activated, producing chemicals that repel insects or other predators
  • Often bacteria or fungi can invade the fruit (sometimes microbe attack is the cause of what we perceive to be a "physical bruise")
  • This changes the smell and the taste
  • ..and can sometimes cause revulsion (depending on your expectations).

...but sometimes being crushed improves the edibility, especially for hard or fibrous fruit and vegetables.
...and oenophiles wouldn't have it any other way!


Offline chris

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Re: Why does the flavour of fruit change when it's bruised?
« Reply #2 on: 24/05/2016 08:52:39 »
When fruit is "bruised", physical damage to the tissue of the fruit ruptures cells and releases their contents into the surrounding "extracellular space".  Included in what is released is a cocktail of degradative enzymes such as lysozymes, which have the ability to break down a range of molecules. This means that the fruit partially digests itself where the damage has occurred. This often releases sugars by degrading starch molecules. As a result, the colour, texture (turgor) and flavour of a fruit item changes in the region where it has been bruised.
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