Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #246007

Title: Dual effectiveness of sodium chlorite for enzymatic browning inhibition and Escherichia coli inactivation on fresh-cut apples

item Luo, Yaguang - Sunny
item Lu, Shengmin
item Zhou, Bin
item Feng, Hao

Submitted to: Journal of Food Science and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/17/2011
Publication Date: 4/2/2011
Citation: Luo, Y., Lu, S., Zhou, B., Feng, H. 2011. Dual effectiveness of sodium chlorite for enzymatic browning inhibition and Escherichia coli inactivation on fresh-cut apples. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 44:1621-1625.

Interpretive Summary: Controlling cut-surface discoloration and the growth of disease causing microorganisms is critical for maintaining the quality and wholesomeness of fresh-cut apples. However, incompatibility between the chemicals used for microbial control and browning inhibition presents major challenge to the industry. Therefore, it is important to develop a treatment that controls both microbial growth and discoloration. In this study, we investigated the effects of sodium chlorite (SC) on inhibiting the browning reaction and inactivating Escherichia coli on fresh-cut apples. We found that a treatment containing sodium chlorite significantly inhibited the browning reaction of cut apples for up to 2 weeks, and also reduced the population of Escherichia coli by 99.99 percent. This suggests that SC has the potential to become the much needed dual-control agent for the fresh-cut apple industry. This research is of interest to food scientists and the fresh produce industry.

Technical Abstract: This study investigated the dual effectiveness of sodium chlorite (SC) for browning inhibition and microbial inactivation on fresh-cut apples. The SC treatment exhibited a strong inhibition on browning reaction of fresh-cut Red Delicious apples during cold storage. Test results from examination of the browning inhibition mechanism indicated that SC controlled browning by inhibiting the enzyme activity of polyphenol oxidase. This SC treatment also exhibited a significant reduction (over 4.5 log cfu/g) of Escherichia coli populations on fresh-cut apples. The dual effectiveness of SC to inhibit enzymatic browning and inactivate Escherichia coli may allow this compound to achieve a prominent role in improving the quality and safety of products in the fresh-cut apple and other food industries.