Advances in postharvest technologies to extend the storage life of minimally processed fruits and vegetables
Ali, A., Yeoh, W.K., Forney, C. and Siddiqui, M.W. 2017. Advances in postharvest technologies to extend the storage life of minimally processed fruits and vegetables. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr.:1-18.
Plain language summary
Large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables are wasted each year due to senescence, decay and improper handling. In addition, consumer demand for fresh, healthy, and convenient foods has driven the development of minimally processed fresh produce, which increases perishability. Processes such as cutting and peeling create wounds that can promote the growth of spoilage microorganisms as well as increase rates of tissue senescence. Chlorine has been widely used to disinfect fresh-cut produce during washing. However, chlorine reacts with organic compounds in wash water and can form carcinogenic compounds such as trihalomethanes, which may threaten human and environmental health. Alternative treatments are being developed that can achieve similar reduction of microorganisms as chlorine without producing harmful by products. In this review, pros and cons of alternative treatments including ozone, electrolyzed water, hydrogen peroxide, ultraviolet radiation, high pressure processing, and ultrasound are discussed. While these treatments have been tested in laboratories around the world, their application at an industrial scale in many cases is yet to be evaluated.
Minimally processed fresh produce is one of the fastest growing segments of the food industry due to consumer demand for fresh, healthy, and convenient foods. However, mechanical operations of cutting and peeling induce the liberation of cellular contents at the site of wounding that can promote the growth of pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms. In addition, rates of tissue senescence can be enhanced resulting in reduced storage life of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. Chlorine has been widely adopted in the disinfection and washing procedures of fresh-cut produce due to its low cost and efficacy against a broad spectrum of microorganisms. Continuous replenishment of chlorine in high organic wash water can promote the formation of carcinogenic compounds such as trihalomethanes, which threaten human and environmental health. Alternative green and innovative chemical and physical postharvest treatments such as ozone, electrolyzed water, hydrogen peroxide, ultraviolet radiation, high pressure processing, and ultrasound can achieve similar reduction of microorganisms as chlorine without the production of harmful compounds or compromising the quality of fresh-cut produce.