Submitted to: International Fresh Cut Produce Association Annual Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 20, 2004
Publication Date: May 1, 2004
Citation: Beaulieu, J.C. 2004. Within season quality differences stored fresh-cut eastern and western cantaloupe. International Fresh Cut Produce Association Annual Conference. Technical Abstract: Orange-fleshed cantaloupes (Cucumis melo var. Reticulatus) were grown on raised beds with standard cultural practices in commercial fields with furrow irrigation. Athena, 'Sol Dorado', and 'Sol Real' were investigated numerous times throughout one growing season, and a few additional cultivars were assessed only once. Western shippers were grown in California and Arizona, whereas, Easter melons were grown in Florida and Pennsylvania. Cubes were prepared and placed into 24-ounce (~1 liter) low profile Juice Catcher containers, and were stored at 4°C for various days and then assessed (subjectively, volatiles, °Brix, etc.). Volatiles were assessed via manual solid phase microextraction (SMPE) with GC-FID. In a midseason trial, L*, a* and a*/b* color readings, and cube firmness consistently decreased throughout storage in Athena (Eastern) and Sol Real (Western). Subjective appraisals indicated cubes were considered unmarketable by 11 days. Firmness declined steadily through 11 days storage. Total integrated peak area of 26 compounds indicated a gradual decline (Athena) or transient increase through 4 days (Sol Real), followed by a marked decline through storage. Athena had much greater acetate esters (90.4%) content compared with Sol Real (74.5%). Acetates declined during storage in both cultivars, which were accompanied by concomitant ester increases (almost same relative percentage differences). In another midseason trial with 5 Western cultivars (Goldrush, Mission, Oro Rico, Sol Dorado, and Sol Real), acetates declined during storage in all 5 cultivars, and the declines were accompanied by an almost equal (relative %) simultaneous ester increase. Sol Real had an almost identical acetate and ester ratio compared with the previous trial. In a later season trial, most color readings (L*, a*, b*) tapered off gradually through 5 days storage, or remained somewhat unchanged. Brix generally declined through 7 days storage. Sol Dorado cube firmness decreased substantially, whereas, Athena cubes actually became slightly firmer. Substantial drop off in acetate esters with correspondent increase in non-acetate esters from day 0 to 2 occurred. The generally observed loss of acetate esters, and the concomitant rise in non-acetate esters observed during storage of fresh-cut cantaloupe cubes, will be discussed and related to overall product quality and consumer acceptance.