Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 10, 2004
Publication Date: January 12, 2005
Citation: Lamikanra, O., Bett Garber, K.L., Ingram, D.A., Watson, M.A. 2005. Use of mild heat pre-treatment for quality retention of fresh-cut cantaloupe melon. Journal of Food Science. 70(1):C53-C57. Interpretive Summary: Exposure of plant tissues to temperatures about 10°C above the normal growing temperature alters response of the tissue to wounding. The control of wound signals using mild heat has been demonstrated to be beneficial for improving the shelf-life of some whole fruits. Our research applied this concept to cut fruit. Preheating whole cantaloupe melon previously stored at 4 oC to 50 oC in a waterbath for 60 minutes, followed by cooling to 4 oC overnight prior to cutting, was demonstrated to improve the cut fruit sensory quality and shelf-life. The improved fruit quality, as a result of the treatment, was determined by biochemical and microbial measurements. Human sensory evaluation was used to demonstrate the improved flavor and texture attributes during storage, which was a consequence of preheating fruit prior to cutting. The result will be useful to the fresh-cut fruit industry for processing fruit with superior product shelf-life.
Technical Abstract: The effect on sensory attributes and shelf-life of fresh-cut cantaloupe melon subjected to pre-cut heat treatment at 50 oC for 60 minutes, followed by stored at 4 oC prior to cutting, and then storage at 10 oC for eight days, was determined. Heat treatment reduced the rate of increased respiration and moisture loss during storage of the cut fruit. The treatment also reduced microbial count after storage for one day, and prevented growth of lactic acid bacteria that occurred in untreated fruit after eight days in storage. Sensory evaluations indicated that heat treatment increased the intensities of the desirable attributes of fruity melon and sweet aromatic flavors, and reduced the undesirable flavors of musty, sour, bitter, chemical, and fermented. The study suggests that heat treatment would be useful in improving shelf-life of fresh-cut fruit.