Metabolome analyses by NMR spectroscopy can be used in quality control by generating unique fingerprints of different species. Hundreds of components and their variation between different samples can be analyzed in a few minutes/hours with high accuracy and low cost of sample preparation. Here, apple peel and pulp extracts of a variety of apple cultivars were studied to assess their suitability to discriminate between the different varieties. The cultivars comprised mainly newly bred varieties or ones that were brought onto the market in recent years. Multivariate analyses of peel and pulp extracts were able to unambiguously identify all cultivars, with peel extracts showing a higher discriminative power. The latter was increased if the highly concentrated sugar metabolites were omitted from the analysis. Whereas sugar concentrations lay within a narrow range, polyphenols, discussed as potential health promoting substances, and acids varied remarkably between the cultivars.
Keywords: malus domestica; metabolomics; multivariate analysis; quality control.