|Qi, Ling - USDA/ARS/HCQL|
Submitted to: Food Quality Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 20, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Honeydew melon cubes deteriorate very rapidly and has a very short shelf life in the supermarkets. Controlled atmosphere is beneficial in extending the shelf life of some fresh-cut products. Since melon cubes can be marketed in film-wrapped containers and the cubes can create a modified atmosphere, the effects of low oxygen and elevated carbon dioxide atmosphere on the quality of cubes were determined. A 4 percent oxygen and 10 percent carbon dioxide atmosphere had extended the shelf life of the cubes by about 20 percent. This atmosphere reduced the respiration rate, ethylene production, and maintained texture. The industry can benefit by using this atmosphere for marketing fresh-cut melons and providing the consumers quality product.
Technical Abstract: Physiology, quality and microbial population were monitored with honeydew cubes held in air or controlled atmosphere (CA) of 2 percent oxygen plus 10 percent carbon dioxide at 5 C and 4 percent oxygen plus 10 percent carbon dioxide at 10 C. CA retarded the increased respiration rate and ethylene production. Respiratory quotient breakpoint was lowered by the CA condition. CA extended the marketing life of honeydew cubes by 2 days at 5 C and 1 day at 10 C, which is about a 20 percent extension. CA had a definite beneficial effect in maintaining shear force of cubes held at 10 C, but not at 5 C. The bacterial population was less on honeydew cubes held in CA than in air. Modified atmosphere with these gas mixtures would be beneficial in maintaining quality and retarding microbial growth on honeydew cubes, but strict temperature control would be essential to avoid anaerobic respiration.