Submitted to: International Fresh Cut Produce Association Annual Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/16/2007
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Currently commercial clamshells are very inefficient because 3-10% of the total surface area is exposed to air. These openings allow fruit weight to decrease more than 5% when stored at 10 C, a normal produce shelf temperature, for 7 days. Thus, as a result of this exposure to air, cherry stems dry or turn brown, and fruit shrink and deteriorate. Furthermore, nutritional and taste deterioration due to water loss usually precedes or occurs concomitantly with the appearance of visible symptoms of decay. To help increase fruit quality, we have developed a new clamshell which includes smaller openings (opening ratio to total surface area is 0.21%). This new clamshell significantly decreased weight loss of fruit and nearly doubled the fruit’s shelf life of cherries stored at 1, 10 and 20 C. A pad which released ethanol vapor gradually was glued inside the new clamshell containing intact and fresh-cut cherries. Ethanol concentration was 10-30 µL L-1 in the headspace of the clamshell and up to 50 µg g-1 in the fruit in the ethanol pad treatment. However, a sensory panel did not perceive off-flavor. Ethanol pad treatment decreased respiration rate, slowed fruit softening, and reduced pitting incidence, a major physiological disorder of sweet cherries. A fresh-cut process was carried out using a sharp cork borer. A 12 mm diameter core was removed and the resulting fresh-cut cherry was donut shaped. The ethanol pad suppressed decay of fresh-cut products. A post processing dip in a saprophytic yeast suspension gave effective decay control of intact and fresh-cut cherries.