Submitted to: Postharvest International Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 2, 2004
Publication Date: June 10, 2004
Citation: Lamikanra, O., Watson, M.A., Bett Garber, K.L., Ingram, D.A. 2004. Biochemical effects on fresh-cut fruit quality. Postharvest International Symposium Proceedings. S3:02 Technical Abstract: Fresh-cut produce is the fastest growing food category in the supermarket. Most of the increase in sales has been in cut vegetables. A factor that limits the development of the fresh-cut fruit industry is the rapid decrease in product quality, which is caused by physiological and biochemical changes that accompany processing and storage. Our research objective is to identify these changes, and to develop processing and handling methods that improve cut fruit storage quality. We have established the following: (1) a number of biochemical and microbial base line information for cut fruit; this includes the relationship between storage conditions and quality parameters, such as; sugars, amino acids, organic acids, and microorganism growth. Production of lactic acid/Gram (+ve) bacteria appears to be a useful indicator of temperature abuse during storage; (2) utilized a rapid, solid phase micro-extraction gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (SPME GC-MS) method developed to determine the nature of phytoalexins in fresh-cut fruit. UV simulated biological stress caused significant reduction in aliphatic ester compounds, concurrently, with production of phytoalexin terpene and sesquiterpene compounds; (3) demonstrated that wound-stress induced loss of volatile esters is a contributing factor to loss of freshness that occurs during refrigerated storage of cut fruit; (4) demonstrated the ascorbate nature of peroxidase in most fresh-cut processed fruits. This defined the role of the enzymes as wound oxidative stress induced, and facilitated studies of oxidative stress as indicators of potential product shelf life; (5) defined roles of key enzymes (esterase, pectin, methyl esterase, and lipase) that affect fresh-cut fruit shelf life. These are being used to assess the effects of processing methods and treatments on product shelf life; (6) established the beneficial effect of mild heat treatment on fresh-cut fruit sensory quality and shelf life. This research will be reviewed and discussed.