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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVING THE SENSORY QUALITY AND SHELF LIFE OF FRESH-CUT FRUIT PRODUCTS

Location: Food Processing and Sensory Quality Research

2007 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Develop cutting methods to control wound signals as a means of preventing degradative actions that affect cut fruit sensory quality and shelf life. Develop methods to retard post-cutting biochemical and physiological actions that negatively affect fruit sensory quality and shelf life. Correlate cut fruit quality biochemically with sensory evaluations, and develop markers for rapidly assessing cut fruit quality.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The overall approach is to determine the effects of processing, handling, and storage of cut fruits on the generation and loss of sensory attributes. Methods will be developed to control wound signals by controlling turgor pressure loss during processing. One process will involve peeling and cutting of the fruit while submerged in solutions such as calcium, nicotinamide, naicinamide, and salicylic acid derivatives. Methods will also be developed to extend fresh-cut fruit shelf life by altering wound signals using ultraviolet radiation and by heat treatment. Additionally, methods will be developed to retard post-cutting biochemical and physiological actions that negatively affect fruit sensory quality and shelf life. The approach will be to identify processing aids that will improve product sensory quality and shelf life either in combination with established processing aids, such as, calcium and ascorbic acid, or when used individually. Assessment of fresh-cut fruit quality for all treatments will be conducted via physiological and biochemical measurements, and by sensory evaluations.


3.Progress Report
Research was conducted to determine the effect of storage on fresh-cut cantaloupe when hot water pre-treatment of whole melons was combined with making the first cut under water containing calcium lactate. Completed work on respiration, conductivity (electrolyte leakage), brix, and weight loss. Analysis of the data is in process and sensory work is pending remedial training of the panelists.

This was the in-house project for subordinate project with the University of California (6435-44000-068-01R).


4.Accomplishments
EFFECT OF STORAGE TEMPERATURE CHANGE ON FRESH-CUT CANTALOUPE SENSORY QUALITY. -- Holding refrigerated products at constant temperatures during distribution is a challenge, but is critical for fresh-cut cantaloupe. Two cantaloupe samples were prepared for fresh-cut and stored at 4C for 24 hours and 48 hours before being exposed to 10C for the remainder of the 7 days storage. Two controls were used, one held at 4C and one at 10C for the 7 days. There was a loss of fruity/melon aroma and flavor when storage temperature changed from 4 to 10C, as well as subsequent development of the off-flavors, musty and rancid/painty. Storage at constant temperatures of 4C and 10C resulted in less musty flavor development and less loss of the fruity/melon flavor during 7 days of storage. To maximize aroma and flavor, the fresh-cut cantaloupes need to remain at a constant temperature. A transition from 4C to 10C during shelf life can have an adverse effect of the flavor quality. This study provides the fresh-cut industry with information needed to better maintain fresh-cut cantaloupe aroma and flavor during distribution and storage. This research aligns with National Program 306 component “Quality Characteristics, Preservation, and Enhancement” and addresses Problem Area 1 a. “Definition and Basis for Quality.”


5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
None.


6.Technology Transfer

Number of non-peer reviewed presentations and proceedings10
Number of newspaper articles and other presentations for non-science audiences3

Review Publications
Lamikanra, O., Watson, M.A. 2005. Mild heat and calcium treatment effects on fresh-cut cantaloupe melon during storage. Food Chemistry. 102:1383-1388.

Beaulieu, J.C. 2007. Effect of UV irradiation on cut cantaloupe: terpenoids and volatiles. Journal of Food Science. 72:S272-S281.

Beaulieu, J.C., Lea, J.M. 2007. Volatile characterization in seedless watermelon varieties using spme. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 54:7789-7793.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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