Submitted to: National Meeting of Institute of Food Technologists/Food Expo
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2007
Publication Date: April 25, 2007
Citation: Narciso, J.A., Baldwin, E.A., Plotto, A., Ference, C.M. 2007. Disinfection of immature fruit extends shelf-life in Florida strawberries. National Meeting of Institute of Food Technologists/Food Expo. Presentation No. 100-19. Technical Abstract: Fresh market Florida strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) are field packed and shipped without further processing. Keeping the fruit cool (~0 C (32 F)) helps maintain the quality of the strawberries but controlled temperatures are not always accessible. Organisms such as Botrytis cinerea (grey mold), Rhizopus stolonifer (leak) and various yeasts and bacteria acquired on the fruit surface in the field, in transit or while in the packaging container, flourish on the ripe fruit and reduce shelf-life. Our goal was to reduce the numbers of destructive microorganisms associated with the strawberries before they were picked by spraying immature fruit with peroxyacetic acid (PAA, 100 ppm), 3, 2, and 1 day (s) before picking. Even by storing at abusive temperatures (18 C (64 F)), we found that disinfection of the strawberries before harvest significantly improved quality and extended shelf-life. In addition to applications of PAA before harvest, treatments (for fresh cut application) were applied to some of these strawberries to further extend shelf-life. Application of chitosan (1%) coating was found to be the most efficient treatment of those under study by extending shelf-life for up to 12 days.