Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #339247

Research Project: Development and Validation of Innovative Food Processing Interventions

Location: Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research

Title: Appearance and overall acceptability of fresh-cut cantaloupe pieces from whole melon treated with wet steam process

Author
item Ukuku, Dike
item Geveke, David
item Chau, Lee
item Bigley, Andrew - Retired ARS Employee
item Niemira, Brendan

Submitted to: LWT - Food Science and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/9/2017
Publication Date: 4/21/2017
Citation: Ukuku, D.O., Geveke, D.J., Chau, L.I., Bigley, A., Niemira, B.A. 2017. Appearance and overall acceptability of fresh-cut cantaloupe pieces from whole melon treated with wet steam process. LWT - Food Science and Technology. doi: 10.1016/j.lwt.2017.04.033.

Interpretive Summary: Whole melons were inoculated with 7 log CFU/ml of each bacterium (Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes) and then treated with a wet steam processing unit for 180 s before fresh-cut preparation. Microbial safety was studied and the overall appearance and acceptability of the fresh-cut pieces were investigated by trained panelists. Wet steam process of whole cantaloupes reduced total microbial transfer to the interior during fresh-cut preparation, and enhanced the microbial safety of the fresh-cut pieces. The steam process also improved appearance and overall acceptability of the cut pieces suggesting that the steam process treatment would be a better alternative than conventional wash process.

Technical Abstract: Minimally processed fresh-cut fruits have a limited shelf-life because of deterioration caused by spoilage microflora and changes in physiological processes. Whole melons were inoculated with 7 log CFU/ml of each bacterium (Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes) and then treated with a wet steam processing unit for 180 s before fresh-cut preparation. Microbial safety was studied and the overall appearance and acceptability of the fresh-cut pieces were investigated by trained panelists. There were no visual signs of physical damage on all treated cantaloupe surfaces immediately after treatments and during storage. All fresh-cut pieces from treated cantaloupes were negative for bacterial pathogens while aerobic mesophilic bacteria were recovered. Appearance and overall acceptability of fresh-cut pieces from treated melons during 6 days at 5C were not significantly (p<0.05) different from control pieces prepared from fresh melons but were significantly (p<0.05) different from untreated pieces from day 0 under the same storage conditions for 14 days. The results of this study suggests that minimal wet steam treatment of cantaloupes rind surfaces designated for fresh-cut preparation will enhance the microbial safety of fresh-cut pieces, by reducing total bacterial populations and increasing the overall acceptability of cut pieces.