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Use of UV-C treatments to maintain quality and extend the shelf life of green fresh-cut bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.)

Rodoni, L.M.; Concellón, A.ía.; Chaves, A.R.; Vicente, A.R.

Journal of Food Science 77(6): C632-C639

2012


ISSN/ISBN: 1750-3841
PMID: 22671520
DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02746.x
Accession: 036441030

The objective of this work was to select a Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) treatment for fresh-cut mature green bell pepper, and to evaluate the effect of its combination with refrigeration on quality maintenance. Bell pepper sticks were treated with 0, 3, 10, or 20 kJ/m² UV-C in the outer (O), inner (I), or both sides of the pericarp (I/O) and stored for 8 d at 10 °C. During the first 5 d of storage, all UV-C treatments reduced deterioration as compared to the control. The treatment with 20 kJ/m² I/O was the most effective to reduce deterioration, and was used for further evaluations. In a second group of experiments, mature green bell pepper sticks were treated with 20 kJ/m² I/O, stored at 5 °C for 7 or 12 d and assessed for physical and chemical analysis, and microbiological quality. UV-C-treated fruit showed lower exudates and shriveling than the control. UV exposure also reduced decay, tissue damage, and electrolyte leakage. After 12 d at 5 °C, UV-C irradiated peppers remained firmer and had higher resistance to deformation than the control. The UV-C treatments also reduced weight loss and pectin solubilization. UV-C exposure decreased the counts of mesophile bacteria and molds, and did not affect acidity or sugars. UV-C-treated fruit stored for 0 or 7 d at 5 °C did not show major differences in antioxidants from the control as measured against DPPH(•) or ABTS(•)⁺ radicals. Results suggest that UV-C exposure is useful to maintain quality of refrigerated fresh-cut green pepper. Exposure to UV-C radiation before packing and refrigeration could be a useful nonchemical alternative to maintain quality and reduce postharvest losses in the fresh-cut industry.

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