Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/9/2004
Publication Date: 4/17/2004
Citation: Saftner, R.A., Bhagwat, A.A., Abbott, J.A. Sensory, analytical and microbial quality comparisons of fresh-cut apple slices processed with commercial and experimental wash solutions. Meeting Abstract. HortScience. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: A calcium ascorbate wash treatment is commercially used for the prevention of browning on fresh-cut apple slices but has little to no antibacterial activity against spoilage or foodborne pathogens. The possible alternative use of isoascorbic/ascorbic acid, calcium, and N-acetyl-L-cysteine solutions at pH '3.0 were studied for quality retention as a function of storage time as compared with similar products treated with calcium ascorbate. The antibacterial activity of the wash solutions was also compared. The commercial and experimental wash treatments similarly maintained instrumental surface color, firmness, and quality-associated volatile levels during 3 weeks storage at 5 °C in air. The concentration of GRAS substances in the experimental solutions was adjusted to prevent browning without compromising consumer sensory scores for flavor, texture, and overall acceptability. Prior to their use on apple slices, the experimental wash solutions reduced survival of Eschercihia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, Shigella flexneri, Salmonella serovar Typhimurium, and Vibrio cholera, whereas the commercial wash treatment had antibacterial activity only against V. cholera. During increasing exposure to apple slices, the experimental wash solutions rapidly lost their antibacterial activity. The lost antimicrobial activity could be fully restored in highly contaminated experimental wash solutions. A molecular beacon real-time PCR technology was used to detect Salmonella contamination at ~4 cells per 25 g apple slices. Only the experimental wash treatments eliminated low level contaminations of Salmonella in experimentally inoculated apple slices without adversely affecting the level of normally occurring aerobic microbes contaminating the apple slices. The results indicate that the experimental wash treatments are a promising alternative to calcium ascorbate for quality retention of fresh-cut apple slices during storage and have strong potential from a microbial safety viewpoint.