Morphological, mechanical and sensory properties of almond (Prunus dulcis L.) and pistachio (Pistacia vera L.) cultivars grown in Spain

Adrian Rabadan


The differences on the characteristics of kernels form different almond and pistachio genotypes have been widely analysed attending to chemical characteristics with little attention been paid to physical parameters. Regarding sensory analysis, most of studies have relied on train judges to differentiate almond and pistachio genotypes, while the preferences of consumer type panellist have not been properly considered. In this study, the analysis of physical parameters size, weight, colour and hardness using technical procedures and consumers preferences have been performed in ten different almond genotypes and ten pistachio genotypes grown on the same plot. Results show that physical parameters are useful for cultivar discrimination even when nuts are grown on the same plot. Consumers show significant preferences in overall visual acceptance and taste for some almond (Vairo, Belona and Penta) and pistachio cultivars (Larnaka, Aegina and Sirora). In almonds, physical parameters width and colour parameter b* inside the kernel are correlated with higher consumer valuations for overall visual acceptance and taste, respectively. Correlations between physical parameters and consumer valuations can be the first step in the study of formation of consumer preferences. Breeders and the food industry should take into account consumer preferences for some cultivars.


varieties; genotypes; consumer; sensory analysis; colour

Full Text:



Aceña, L., Vera, L., Guasch, J., Busto, O., Mestres, M. (2010). Comparative study of two extraction techniques to obtain representative aroma extracts for being analysed by gas chromatography-olfactometry: Application to roasted pistachio aroma. Journal of Chromatography A, 1217: 7781-7787.

Aktas, T., Polat, R., Atay, U. (2007). Comparison of mechanical properties of some selected almond cultivars with hard and soft shell under compression loading. Journal of Food Process Engineering, 30: 773-789.

Aydin, C. (2003). Physical properties of almond nut and kernel. Journal of Food Engineering, 60: 315-320.

Catalán, L., Alvarez-Ortí, M., Pardo-Giménez, A., Gómez, R., Rabadán, A., Pardo, J.E. (2017). Pistachio oil: A review on its chemical composition, extraction systems, and uses. European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, 119.

Chen, C.Y., Lapsley, K., Blumberg, J. (2006). A nutrition and health perspective on almonds. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 86: 2245-2250.

CIE (1986). Colorimetry, 2nd ed ed. Central Bureau of the Commission Internationale de L´Eclairage, Vienne.

Contador, L., Robles, B., Shinya, P., Medel, M., Pinto, C., Reginato, G., Infante, R. (2015). Characterization of texture attributes of raw almond using a trained sensory panel. Fruits, 70: 231-237.

Gou, P., Diaz, I., Guerrero, L., Valero, A., Arnau, J., Romero, A. (2000). Physico-chemical and sensory property changes in almonds of Desmayo Largueta variety during toasting. Food Science and Technology International, 6: 1-7.

Guerrero, L., Gou, P., Arnau, J. (1997). Descriptive analysis of toasted almonds: A comparison between expert and semi-trained assessors. Journal of Sensory Studies, 12: 39-54.

Kader, A.A., Heintz, C.M., Labavitch, J.M., Rae, H.L. (1982). Studies related to the descripticon and evaluation of pistachio nut quality. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, 107: 812-816.

Kamil, A., Chen, C.Y.O. (2012). Health benefits of almonds beyond cholesterol reduction. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 60: 6694-6702.

Ledbetter, C.A., Palmquist, D.E. (2006). Comparing physical measures and mechanical cracking products of 'Nonpareil' almond (Prunus dulcis [Mill.] D.A. Webb.) with two advanced breeding selections. Journal of Food Engineering, 76: 232-237.

Lynch, C., Koppel, K., Reid, W. (2016). Sensory Profiles and Seasonal Variation of Black Walnut Cultivars. Journal of Food Science, 81: S719-S727.

Milczarek, R.R., Avena-Bustillos, R.J., Peretto, G., McHugh, T.H. (2014). Optimization of microwave roasting of almond (Prunus dulcis). Journal of Food Processing and Preservation, 38: 912-923.

Mokhtarian, M., Tavakolipour, H., Kalbasi Ashtari, A. (2017). Effects of solar drying along with air recycling system on physicochemical and sensory properties of dehydrated pistachio nuts. LWT - Food Science and Technology, 75: 202-209.

Nikzadeh, V., Sedaghat, N. (2008). Physical and sensory changes in pistachio nuts as affected by roasting temperature and storage. American-Eurasian Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, 4: 478-483.

Penci, M.C., Martinez, M.L., Fabani, M.P., Feresin, G.E., Tapia, A., Ighani, M., Ribotta, P.D., Wunderlin, D.A. (2013). Matching Changes in Sensory Evaluation with Physical and Chemical Parameters: A Case Study: Argentinean Pistachio Nuts (Pistachia vera L. cv Kerman). Food and Bioprocess Technology, 6: 3305-3316.

Rabadán, A., Álvarez-Ortí, M., Gómez, R., de Miguel, C., Pardo, J.E. (2017a). Influence of genotype and crop year in the chemometrics of almond and pistachio oils. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. In press. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.8732.

Rabadán, A., Álvarez-Ortí, M., Gómez, R., Pardo-Giménez, A., Pardo, J.E. (2017b). Suitability of Spanish almond cultivars for the industrial production of almond oil and defatted flour. Scientia Horticulturae, 225: 539-546.

Rabadán, A., Álvarez-Ortí, M., Pardo, J.E., Gómez, R., Pardo-Giménez, A., Olmeda, M. (2017c). A comprehensive approach to pistachio oil production. British Food Journal, 119: 921-933.

Rabadán, A., Pardo, J.E., Gómez, R., Alvarruiz, A., Álvarez-Ortí, M. (2017d). Usefulness of physical parameters for pistachio cultivar differentiation. Scientia Horticulturae, 222: 7-11.

Roncero, J.M., Álvarez-Ortí, M., Pardo-Giménez, A., Gómez, R., Rabadán, A., Pardo, J.E. (2016a). Almond virgin oil: Parameters of regulated physicochemical quality and stability. Rivista Italiana delle Sostanze Grasse, 93: 237-243.

Roncero, J.M., Álvarez-Ortí, M., Pardo-Giménez, A., Gómez, R., Rabadán, A., Pardo, J.E. (2016b). Virgin almond oil: Extraction methods and composition. Grasas y Aceites, 67.

Shakerardekani, A., Karim, R., Mohd Ghazali, H., Chin, N.L. (2011). Effect of roasting conditions on hardness, moisture content and colour of pistachio kernels. International Food Research Journal, 18: 723-729.

Tsantili, E., Takidelli, C., Christopoulos, M.V., Lambrinea, E., Rouskas, D., Roussos, P.A. (2010). Physical, compositional and sensory differences in nuts among pistachio (Pistachia vera L.) varieties. Scientia Horticulturae, 125: 562-568.

Varela, P., Chen, J., Fiszman, S., Povey, M.J.W. (2006). Crispness assessment of roasted almonds by an integrated approach to texture description: Texture, acoustics, sensory and structure. Journal of Chemometrics, 20: 311-320.

Varela, P., Salvador, A., Fiszman, S. (2008). On the assessment of fracture in brittle foods: The case of roasted almonds. Food Research International, 41: 544-551.

Vázquez-Araújo, L., Verdú, A., Navarro, P., Martínez-Sánchez, F., Carbonell-Barrachina, A.A. (2009). Changes in volatile compounds and sensory quality during toasting of Spanish almonds.

International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 44: 2225-2233.

Yada, S., Lapsley, K., Huang, G. (2011). A review of composition studies of cultivated almonds: Macronutrients and micronutrients. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 24: 469-480.