Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Plant, Environment, and Soil Science

Document Type



Asian Persimmon (Diospyros kaki Thunb.) is an important fruit crop in Asia and in recent decades has experienced expanding production around the world. Non-astringent cultivars are highly desirable in world markets. In the United States the Asian Persimmon is lesser known and consumed although it can be successfully grown in California and the Southeastern United States.This novel study examined the physical/chemical properties of the non-astringent Asian Persimmon ‘Jiro’ grown in Southern Louisiana at three distinct stages of ripeness described as Green (mid-September harvest), Light Orange (mid-October harvest) and Dark Orange (mid-November harvest). Data collected included color, weight, size, soluble solids, titratable acidity, firmness, total sugars, total acids, and aromatic qualities. A unique feature of this study was to correlate the results of the physical/chemical data with consumer’s perceptions of the fruit.

A consumer/sensory study was developed to determine American consumers’ general perceptions and interest in non-astringent Asian Persimmon. Participants were asked to observe and sample the fruit at each state of ripeness and rate the fruit on visual qualities, aroma, sweetness, firmness and overall taste, acceptability and whether they would purchase the fruit if commercially available. The Green stage of ripeness was viewed negatively and considered “too firm” and “not sweet enough” by most participants although once the fruit was tasted there was a significant acceptability of the fruit. Participants demonstrated high acceptability and willingness to purchase non-astringent Asian Persimmon in the Light Orange and Dark Orange stages of ripeness. Total sugars increased with low levels of acid in each ripening stage that correlated with participants preference to sweeter fruit. As sweetness improved and the fruit softened, participants overall perceptions improved. Participants demonstrated preference to the Dark Orange stage of ripeness. Contrary to other studies, low concentrations of aromatic compounds were recognized at all ripeness stages and were not a factor in participants preference to the fruit. Discriminant analysis identified “overall liking” as the most critical variable influencing consumer interest in purchasing the fruit. These findings point to marketing strategies and promotion of non-astringent Asian Persimmon that includes sampling and taste testing to improve consumer interest.



Committee Chair

LaBonte, Don