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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENHANCEMENT OF THE QUALITY AND MICROBIAL STABILITY OF FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES WITH EDIBLE COATINGS AND OTHER SURFACE TREATMENTS

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Title: Does chilling injury play a role in determining the shelf-life of fresh-cut tropical or subtropical products? A case study with fresh-cut ‘Kent’ mango

Authors
item Dea, Sharon
item Brecht, Jeffrey -
item Nunes, Maria Cecilia -
item Baldwin, Elizabeth

Submitted to: United Fresh Produce Association
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 17, 2010
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Fruit and vegetable species that evolved in subtropical and tropical regions of the world are known to be sensitive to low, non-freezing temperatures between 32 to 60 F, which can cause disruption of normal metabolism and result in various undesirable chilling injury symptoms, including discoloration, ripening disruption, and lack of normal aroma development. For example, mango fruit are known to be injured by temperatures below the range of 46 to 54 F, depending on the ripeness stage, with riper fruit being tolerant of lower temperatures. In handling fresh-cut products, however, temperatures from 32 to 41 F are the norm, chosen for both food safety and product quality considerations. In order to determine if chilling injury plays a role in determining the shelf-life of fresh-cut tropical and subtropical products, we held whole ‘Kent’ mango fruit and fresh-cut slices for 10 days at 41 F or 54 F and monitored quality changes and the appearance of chilling injury symptoms, including synthesis of aroma volatiles. The results indicate that exposure of fresh-cut mango to 41 F did cause some chilling stress that resulted in lower vitamin C content, less aroma, and greater softening, however, there were no visible symptoms of chilling injury in either the whole or fresh-cut mango. On the other hand, handling fresh-cut mango slices at 54 F led to very rapid and severe quality loss. We conclude that the short shelf life of fresh-cut mango, and presumably other chilling sensitive fruits and vegetables, precludes the development of significant chilling injury symptoms prior to the end of shelf life due to other, normal losses in quality. Thus, for all practical purposes, the shelf life of fresh-cut products, including those that are subject to chilling injury, is probably best maintained at the lowest possible, non-freezing temperature.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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