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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: EVALUATION AND MAINTENANCE OF FLAVOR, NUTRITIONAL AND OTHER QUALITY ATTRIBUTES OF FRESH AND FRESH-CUT PRODUCE

Location: Food Quality Laboratory

Title: Extending shelf-life of ready-to-eat microgreens by optimizing dewatering procedure

Authors
item Turner, Ellen
item Luo, Yaguang

Submitted to: Annual Meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 12, 2013
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Microgreens have gained increasing popularity as food ingredients in recent years, because of their high nutritional value, as well as their abundant, diverse, and distinct sensorial characteristics including a variety of fresh flavors and aromas and vivid colors. However, their commercial production and marketing is limited by their short shelf-life due to rapid quality deterioration and high price. In order to provide more affordable ready-to-eat product to a broader market, it is necessary to increase shelf life for washed product. This requires optimizing washing and dewatering conditions for these fragile plants. This study compared centrifugal dewatering with forced-air dewatering methods. Air temperature, speed and duration of drying were also determined. Microgreens were washed in 50 ppm chlorine solution prior to dewatering. Dewatered microgreens were packaged in film and stored at 5 ºC for 14 days. Washed and dewatered microgreen samples and unwashed controls were evaluated for visual quality and assayed for aerobic mesophilic bacteria, psychrotrophic bacteria, and yeast and mold growth on days 0, 3, 7, 10 and 14 of storage. Centrifugal drying caused severe damage to microgreens and/or did not remove water effectively, resulting in shortened shelf-life. Gentle forced-air drying caused less damage and removed more water resulting in a drier product which supported less microbial growth. Optimized dewatering of microgreens should allow ready-to-eat product to attain a longer shelf-life making possible the expansion of the microgreen market.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014