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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT OF AGRICULTURALLY-DERIVED BIOPOLYMER COMPOSITES FOR NON-FOOD APPLICATIONS

Location: Bioproduct Chemistry and Engineering Research

Title: Fresh fruit: microstructure, texture and quality

Authors
item Wood, Delilah
item Imam, Syed
item Orts, William
item Glenn, Gregory

Submitted to: Proceedings of SPIE
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 22, 2009
Publication Date: May 22, 2009
Citation: Wood, D.F., Imam, S.H., Orts, W.J., Glenn, G.M. 2009. Fresh fruit: microstructure, texture and quality. Proceedings of SPIE. 7378 (Microscopy and Analysis of Food Microstructures).

Technical Abstract: Fresh-cut produce has a huge following in today’s supermarkets. The trend follows the need to decrease preparation time as well as the desire to follow the current health guidelines for consumption of more whole “heart-healthy” foods. Additionally, consumers are able to enjoy a variety of fresh produce regardless of the local season because produce is now shipped world-wide. However, most fruits decompose rapidly once their natural packaging has been disrupted by cutting. In addition, some intact fruits have limited shelf-life which, in turn, limits shipping and storage. Therefore, a basic understanding of how produce microstructure relates to texture and how microstructure changes as quality deteriorates is needed to ensure the best quality in the both the fresh-cut and the fresh produce markets. Similarities between different types of produce include desiccation intolerance which produces wrinkling of the outer layers, cracking of the cuticle and increased susceptibility to pathogen invasion. Specific examples of fresh produce and their corresponding ripening and storage issues, and degradation are shown in scanning electron micrographs.

Last Modified: 4/21/2014