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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wenatchee, Washington » Physiology and Pathology of Tree Fruits Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #400913

Research Project: Enhancement of Apple, Pear, and Sweet Cherry Quality

Location: Physiology and Pathology of Tree Fruits Research

Title: Utilization of perforated zipper-lock packaging bags to improve the quality of stem-on and stem-free ‘Chelan’ and ‘Lapins’ sweet cherries during the storage and marketing periods

item ZHI, HUANHUAN - Qinghai University
item DAI, HUIMIN - Qinghai University
item Leisso, Rachel
item DONG, YU - Qinghai University

Submitted to: Packaging Technology and Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2023
Publication Date: 12/26/2023
Citation: Zhi, H., Dai, H., Leisso, R.S., Dong, Y. 2023. Utilization of perforated zipper-lock packaging bags to improve the quality of stem-on and stem-free ‘Chelan’ and ‘Lapins’ sweet cherries during the storage and marketing periods. Packaging Technology and Science . Vol 37(3):199-210.

Interpretive Summary: The current perforation ratio of sweet cherry bags used for storage and marketing is between 2 and 5%. This study evaluated the influence of 2%, 0.5%, and 0.05% perforation ratio bags on fruit quality. Results demonstrated that reducing the perforation ratio to 0.5% improves sweet cherry quality during a low-temperature storage period of 14 days and in a higher temperature simulated transport and marketing period of 4 days, relative to non-bagged control fruit, or bags with 2 or 0.05% perforation ratios. Reduction in the perforation ratios resulted in higher relative humidity, higher carbon dioxide, and lower oxygen levels; however, fruit stored in bags with 0.05% perforation ratios were more prone to decay.

Technical Abstract: Weight loss of sweet cherries is a significant issue in storage, transport, and retail. Despite the widespread use of commercial zipper-lock bags and clamshells with 2-5% perforation ratios (PR) in cherry packinghouses for the United States market, packed cherries are susceptible to quality deteriorations (i.e., softening, dull skin color, decay, surface pitting, stem browning, bitter taste, and off-flavor) after transport and during shelf life. The purpose of this study was to assess whether reducing the bags’ PR had the potential to improve the quality of two principal cultivars (‘Chelan’ and ‘Lapins’ cherries) and to investigate the quality of stemless cherries under different perforation conditions. Regardless of cultivar or whether the stem was attached to the fruit, reducing the PR from 2 to 0.5 or 0.05% resulted in high relative humidity (RH) and CO2, lower O2, and reduced weight loss of fruit and stems during 14 d at 0 °C, 2 d at 10 °C, and 2 d at 20 °C (a simulated marketing period). Furthermore, lowering the PR was beneficial for maintaining high fruit firmness, skin brightness, and stem green color, reducing fruit susceptibility to surface pitting and stem browning, and stabilizing the membrane integrity of stem cells. However, the 0.05% PR bags retained a significant amount of condensation water in the packaging, and as a result, the rate of decay increased rapidly during the stimulated marketing period. Additionally, removing the stems before packaging accelerated the development of decay in both cultivars, especially in the 0.05% PR bags. Notably, packing stemless cherries in bags with a 0.5% PR delayed the deterioration of fruit and stem quality and reduced the rate of pathogen infection. Overall, the application of 0.5% PR zipper-lock bags in the sweet cherry industry had the potential to improve the fruit and stem quality of ‘Chelan’ and ‘Lapins’ cherries during a simulated marketing period and to retard the quality deterioration due to stem loss.