Submitted to: Acta Horticulture Proceedings
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: The gas mixture of atmosphere formed within film packed fresh-cut fruits and vegetables can be desirable or undesirable to the product. The atmosphere is undesirable when the oxygen level gets too low and causes anaerobic respiration, which can be lethal to the plant tissues. Desirable atmosphere is attained by using film of proper gas transmission rate, which is dependent on respiration rate of the product, temperature, and sample weight to surface volume of package. The respiration rate of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables is unknown, nor are the quality changes of fresh-cut products stored in low oxygen atmosphere understood. Research was undertaken to answer these questions and this paper lists the respiration rates and the quality and microbial population changes on fresh-cut products held under low oxygen controlled atmosphere. This information will be helpful to the research and development segment of the fresh produce industry in selecting proper film for packaging and in understanding the quality changes of fresh-cut products held in low oxygen atmospheres.
Technical Abstract: Quality changes, microbial population, and respiration rates were monitored with fresh-cut fruits and vegetables stored in low oxygen controlled atmosphere to simulate modified atmosphere packaging condition. Selected low oxygen atmosphere was not injurious to the quality. Microorganism population did not increase as much on samples held under low oxygen controlled atmosphere relative to those in air. Respiration rate was reduced, and the respiratory quotient generally was not affected by the low oxygen atmosphere at near the respiratory quotient breakpoint. Thus, low oxygen atmosphere in modified atmosphere packages can be beneficial providing the minimum oxygen level is maintained.