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Title: Harvest maturity, pre-cutting wash and post-processing dip to improve quality of fresh-cut carambola fruit

item Bai, Jinhe
item Narciso, Jan
item Plotto, Anne
item Baldwin, Elizabeth - Liz

Submitted to: Proceedings of Florida State Horticultural Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/4/2009
Publication Date: 3/19/2010
Citation: Bai, J., Narciso, J., Plotto, A., Baldwin, E. 2009. Harvest maturity, pre-cutting wash, and post-processing dip to improve quality of fresh-cut carambola fruit. Proceedings of Florida State Horticultural Society. 122:338-342.

Interpretive Summary: A supplemental whole fruit wash with alkaline water reduced microbial contamination on stored fresh-cut ‘Arkin’ carambola slices. Dipping the slices in a solution of ascorbic acid (ASA) or calcium ascorbate (Ca ASA) maintained visual quality of slices cut at the yellow stage by reducing browning, and Ca ASA improved eating quality of slices cut at the color break stage by decreasing total acidity, probably by binding oxalic acid. However, this treatment also increased cut surface drying, but without negatively impacting visual quality.

Technical Abstract: ‘Arkin’ carambola (Averrhoa carambola L.) fruit harvested at color break or full yellow stage were washed with or without an alkaline solution (pH 12), cut to 10 mm slices, dipped in calcium ascorbate (Ca ASA), ascorbic acid (ASA) or water, and packaged in perforated clamshells for up to 14 days storage at 4 °C. Quality changes of the cut slices were determined during storage. The alkaline wash reduced microbial loads on the cut slices throughout the entire storage period. ASA and Ca ASA inhibited cut surface browning as indicated by lower a* value, higher L* and hue values, and higher scores in visual quality. Ca ASA also maintained a firm and crisp texture as showed by the high firmness break force. An informal sensory panel preferred slices treated with Ca ASA for reduced sour, astringent, and bitter tastes, probably due to the binding of soluble oxalic acid to insoluble Ca oxalate. However, care must be paid to avoid phytotoxicity caused by the alkaline pre-cutting treatment, and cut surface drying that was enhanced by the Ca ASA application.