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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

2008 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
1) The effects of combining underwater processing in 60°C water, and cutting the cantaloupe in half and removing the seeds while submerged in calcium chloride solution or water were examined. Combining the processes did not produce an improvement over that observed with the individual treatments.

2) Initiated collaborative research on grant, “Physiological basis for texture and color changes in fresh-cut ´Rocha´ pear and melon: implications on development of products and processes” with Escola Superior de Biotecnologia (ESB), Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Lisbon, Portugal).

The research described in.
1)and.
2)aligns with National Program 306 component “Quality Characteristics, Preservation, and Enhancement” and addresses Problem Area 1 a. “Definition and Basis for Quality.”


4.Accomplishments
1. Method for improving sensory quality and shelf life of fresh-cut cantaloupe.

Fresh-cut cantaloupes lose desirable fruity, sweet flavors, and develop off-flavors during storage. The fruit also becomes soft. Whole melons chilled to 4°C were immersed in heated water at 60°C for 60 minutes. Then they were chilled to 4°C, held for 24 hours, and cut. Heat treatment in water reduced the rate of respiration and moisture loss during storage. It also reduced the microbial count and controlled lactic acid bacteria growth. Heat treatment increased fruity/melon and sweet/aromatic flavors, and reduced musty, sour, bitter, chemical, and fermented flavors. The heat-treated fruit was firmer and more cohesive in texture than the untreated fruit. This method of improving fresh-cut melon sensory properties and shelf life is feasible and can be accomplished by the in-store processor. 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 Proceedings1

Review Publications
Beaulieu, J.C., Lancaster, V.A. 2007. Correlating volatile compounds, physiological parameters, and sensory attributes in stored fresh-cut cantaloupe. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 55:9503-9513.

Beaulieu, J.C. 2007. Quality changes in cantaloupe during growth, maturation, and in stored fresh-cuts prepared from fruit harvested at various maturities. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 132(5):720-728.

Fan, X., Annous, B.A., Beaulieu, J.C., Sites, J.E. 2008. Effect of hot water surface pasteurization of whole fruit on shelf life and quality of fresh-cut cantaloupes. Journal of Food Science. 73(3):M91-M98.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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