Submitted to: Food Research International
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/21/2003
Publication Date: 2/21/2003
Citation: FAN, X., NIEMIRA, B.A., BAXENDALE, K.J. SENSORIAL NUTRITIONAL AND MICROBIOLOGICAL QUALITY OF FRESH CILANTRO LEAVES AS INFLUENCED BY IONIZING IRRADIATION AND STORAGE. FOOD RESEARCH INTERNATIONAL. 2003. V. 36. P. 713-719. Interpretive Summary: The fresh leaves of the cilantro are highly regarded in the cuisines of China, Mexico, South America, India and Southeast Asia. However, there are several recent outbreaks associated with consumption of the herb contaminated with foodborne pathogens. Irradiation is very effective in inactivating the pathogens in a variety of vegetables, however, the effect of irradiation on the quality of cilantro is virtually unknown. This study was conducted to investigate the impact of irradiation on aroma, appearance, nutritional, textural, and microbiological quality attributes of cilantro measured immediately after irradiation as well as during subsequent storage. Our results show that irradiation at doses of 2 kGy or less generally did not negatively impact quality attributes of cilantro, but significantly reduced the population of bacteria on cilantro. The results suggest that irradiation can be used for pathogen inactivation on cilantro without quality deterioration. This information will be useful for the vegetable industry to improve safety of fresh culinary herbs.
Technical Abstract: The impact of gamma irradiation on aroma, appearance, nutritional, textural, and microbiological quality attributes of fresh cilantro was investigated. Irradiation at doses up to 2 kGy did not significantly influence aroma, amount of total volatile compounds, color or overall visual quality. Although firmness of cilantro was reduced by irradiation at day 0, there was no significant difference among treatments after 3, 7 and 14 days of storage at 3 C. Irradiation did not have a consistent effect on antioxidant power or phenolic content during the 14-day storage. In contrast, vitamin C content was lower at day 14 in samples irradiated at 2 and 3 kGy. Cilantro irradiated at 3 kGy developed higher decay rate and off-odor scores than other samples after 14 days of storage. The total aerobic plate count of irradiated cilantro was significantly lower than that of nonirradiated controls immediately after irradiation and during the entire storage period.