IMPROVING THE SENSORY QUALITY AND SHELF LIFE OF FRESH-CUT FRUIT PRODUCTS
Location: Food Processing and Sensory Quality Research
Title: EFFECT OF CUTTING AND STORAGE ON ACETATE AND NON-ACETATE ESTERS IN CONVENIENT, READY TO EAT FRESH-CUT MELONS AND APPLES
Submitted to: Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 10, 2004
Publication Date: January 19, 2006
Citation: Beaulieu, J.C. 2006. Effect of cutting and storage on acetate and non-acetate esters in convenient, ready to eat fresh-cut melons and apples. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 41(1):65-73.
Interpretive Summary: Fresh-cut fruit popularity and sales are gaining rapidly across the U.S. Processing fruit causes physiological changes that may be accompanied by flavor loss, browning, decay, rapid softening, color loss, and a shorter storage life. Reports geared toward understanding mechanisms responsible for generation and/or loss of flavor after processing through the marketing and consumption windows are lacking. Subsequently, herein, factors such as harvest maturity, cultivar, inbred parental lineage, season, and processing were evaluated with regards to the volatile balance and flavor changes that occur after processing during ideal storage (4 °C) in certain cut fruit products. In numerous cantaloupe cultivars, and in honeydew, there was a relative increase in non-acetate flavor compounds and coinciding relative decrease in acetate flavor compounds during fresh-cut storage. Consistent and similar non-acetate to acetate ester ratio was conserved in eastern and western shipper cantaloupes, as well as different cultivars from the same field. Compound balances (similar ratios) were observed in numerous melon cultivars over multiple years from different seasons and growing regions. The hypothesis is put forward that recycling of esters during storage in certain fresh-cut fruits leads to an imbalance in the delicate fine balance of characteristic volatiles. Consistently decreasing acetate flavor compounds, along with increasing non-acetate flavor compounds, could alter the overall perceived desirable flavor/aroma attributes during fresh-cut melon storage, even though volatile esters are still abundant.
Examples from various harvest regimes, storage regimes, cultivars, and different packaging methods are presented to characterize volatile ester differences after cutting; and how changes occur in characteristic flavors throughout the postharvest life of certain cut fruit products. In numerous fresh-cut cantaloupe cultivars, and in honeydew, there was a relative increase in non-acetates and coinciding relative decrease in acetates during storage. A similar and consistent non-acetate:acetate ester ratio was conserved in cantaloupe from eastern and western U.S. regions, as well as different cultivars from the same field. Furthermore, similar ratios were observed in numerous melon cultivars over multiple years from different seasons and growing regions. Since numerous cultivars exhibited similar trends in 2-year repeated studies, the trend is apparently independent of year and season. Fresh-cut ‘Gala’ apples, on the other hand, displayed a slightly different trend, whereby both acetates and non-acetate esters decreased appreciably during storage. The hypothesis is put forward that recycling of esters during storage in certain fresh-cut fruits disturbs the delicate fine balance of characteristic volatiles. Consistently decreasing acetates along with increasing non-acetates could alter the overall perceived desirable flavor attributes during fresh-cut melon storage, even though volatile esters are still abundant.