Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 11, 2003
Publication Date: July 15, 2003
Citation: Kim, J., Luo, Y., Saftner, R.A., Gross, K.C. 2003. Effect of combination of delayed packaging and film oxygen transmission rate on quality of fresh-cut romaine lettuce. HortScience 38. Abstract. P. 832. . American Society for Horticultural Science. Technical Abstract: Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is widely used to maintain quality of fresh and fresh-cut produce by matching the film oxygen transmission rate (OTR) to the respiration rate of the packaged product. However, unlike intact produce, the respiration rates of fresh-cut vegetables follow dynamic patterns with an immediate increase upon processing, followed by sharp and then gradual declines during storage. Commercially, packaging is often delayed; yet its effect on package atmospheres and tissue metabolism has no been reported. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of delayed packaging and its interaction, if any, with film OTR on quality of fresh-cut romaine lettuce. Romaine lettuce leaves were sliced, washed and dried according to standard commercial fresh-cut practices. Samples were held at 5 °C for 0, 4, 10, and 24 hours in air prior to packaging in bags with film OTRs of 1700 and 3500 mL/d-1/m-2. The bags were flushed with N2 to reach an initial headspace O2 partial pressure of 1.5 kPa and hermetically sealed. The packaged samples were stored at 5 °C for up to 14 days for quality evaluation. Results indicate that delayed packaging significantly (P < 0.001) affected CO2, ethanol and acetaldehyde accumulation within the bags, product discoloration and decay. With 3500 OTR film, delayed packaging increased discoloration and reduced overall quality. With 1700 OTR film, delayed packaging maintained product quality by reducing decay, off-odor, and the accumulation of ethanol and acetaldehyde.