Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 10, 2005
Publication Date: November 15, 2005
Citation: Lamikanra, O., Bett Garber, K.L., Kueneman, D., Ukuku, D.O. 2005. Effect of processing under ultraviolet light on the shelf life of fresh-cut cantaloupe melon. Journal of Food Science. 70:534-539. Interpretive Summary: Ultraviolet (UV) technology is widely used as an alternative to chemical sterilization and reduction of vegetative organisms in food products. In the fresh-cut produce industry, as in many food applications, the product is exposed to UV radiation right before and/or after packaging when the product has been fresh-cut processed. Product degradation is, however, accelerated when electrical, chemical, and hormonal wound signals are rapidly sent right through the entire fruit’s tissue at the time of cutting. Ultraviolet light induces hypersensitive defense responses in plant tissues. In this study we investigated the effect of cutting fruit under UV light as a means of extending fresh-cut fruit shelf life. Activities of lipid degrading enzymes (lipase and esterase), and microbial growth were reduced as a result of cutting cantaloupe melon under UV light. Human sensory evaluation indicated reduced rancidity, and instrumental texture measurements demonstrated superior firmness retention in treated fruit during storage. The result will be useful to the fresh-cut fruit industry for developing cut fruit products with improved sensory quality and shelf life.
Technical Abstract: The effect of processing cantaloupe melon under UV-C radiation on storage properties of the cut fruit at 10 oC was compared to post-cut UV-C fruit treatment and the untreated control. Cutting fruit under UV-C light induced a hypersensitive defense response that resulted in increased accumulation of ascorbate peroxidase relative to the other two treatments. Fruit processed under UV-C had the lowest esterase activity throughout the storage period. Lipase activity was higher in post-cut treated fruit than fruit processed under UV-C light and the control fruit. Lipase activity, however, decreased rapidly in fruit processed under UV-C and was undetectable after 7 days storage. Human sensory aroma evaluation indicates reduced rancidity, and instrumental texture measurements suggested improved firmness retention in under UV-C cut fruit. The treatment also reduced respiration during cut fruit storage. UV-C was effective in reducing yeast, mold, and Pseudomonas spp populations in both treatments. Fresh-cut pieces from whole melon cut under UV light had lower populations of aerobic mesophilic and lactic acid.