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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Control of Browning and Microbial Growth on Fresh-Cut Apples by Sequential Treatment of Sanitizers and Calcium Ascorbate

Authors
item Wang, Hua - UIUC
item Feng, Hao - UIUC
item Luo, Yaguang

Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 6, 2006
Publication Date: January 30, 2007
Citation: Wang, H., Feng, H., Luo, Y. 2007. Control of browning and microbial growth on fresh-cut apples by sequential treatment of sanitizers and calcium ascorbate. Journal of Food Science. 72:M1-M7.

Interpretive Summary: The control of cut-surface browning and growth of disease causing microorganisms is critical for maintaining the quality and wholesomeness of fresh-cut produce. However, the major technical challenge facing the industry is the incompatibility of most commercially available browning inhibitors with the anti-microbial treatments. In this study, we evaluated the compatibility of numerous new and conventional anti-microbial agents with a widely used anti-browning agent. We found that a sequential treatment of acidic electrolyzed water wash (anti-microbial) followed by calcium ascorbate (anti-browning) treatment reduced disease causing microorganisms by 99% while maintaining the surface color, product quality and shelf life of fresh-cut apples. This information benefits the fresh-cut apple industry by providing a viable solution to a challenging food safety and quality problem and therefore enhances the growth of this emerging industry.

Technical Abstract: This study investigated the efficacy of different sanitizers including acidic electrolyzed water (AEW), peroxyacetic acid (POAA), and chlorine on the inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 on fresh-cut apples. The effect of sequential treatment of a AEW and POAA followed by cacium ascorbate (CaA) on browning inhibition and organoleptic qualities of fresh-cut apples stored under different package atmospheres at 4 °C was also evaluated. Changes in package atmosphere composition, product color, firmness, total aerobic bacterial counts, yeast and mold counts, and sensory qualities were examined at d 0, 4, 8, 11 and 21. Among all sanitizer treatments, POAA and AEW achieved the highest reduction of E. coli O157:H7 populations. The sequential treatment of AEW and CaA (AEW-CaA) achieved the best overall dual control effects of pathogen reduction, browning inhibition and quality maintenance on apple slices. Package atmospheres changed significantly over time and among package materials. Packages prepared with 158 OTR film had significantly lower O2 and higher CO2 partial pressures than those prepared with 225 OTR films and the ZiplocTM bags. The effect of package atmospheres on the browning of apples is more pronounced on the AEW, POAA, and POAA-CaA treated samples than on AEW-CaA treated samples.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014