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Postharvest storage of whole fruit affects fresh-cut melon

Cantaloupe (Cucumis melo L. reticulatus) is a climacteric fruit - it continues to ripen after harvest because of ethylene production.

A Malaysian research group has conducted a study to determine the effect of postharvest (low temperature) storage on the quality of fresh-cut cantaloupe.

For the study, the Glamour variety was used. The melons were harvested at commercial maturity, then they were stored whole at 10°C and 90±5% RU for three weeks. During storage, a quota of melons was processed after 1, 2 or 3 weeks of storage.

The whole melons were washed with water to remove the dirt on the outer surface, then they were dipped in a solution with 150 ppm of sodium hypochlorite. The skin was peeled, seeds were removed, and the wedges were cut into cubes. After cutting, the cubes were put into polypropylene containers and stored at 2°C and 87% RU for 19 days.

During conservation, the cubes were analyzed for firmness, color, total soluble solids (TSS), titratable acidity (TA), TSS:TA ratio, pH, microbiological count (TPC) and yeast and moulds (YM).

The table 1 shows some data on quality and safety analyses performed on the fresh-cut cantaloupe. The firmness of cubes obtained from whole melons stored for three weeks decreased by 20% or 30% compared to the cubes obtained from those stored for 1 or 2 weeks. The results showed that the firmness of cubes decreased by increasing the storage duration of whole fruit before fresh-cut processing. Also the luminosity and the titratable acidity decreased in the cubes coming from whole fruit stored for three weeks.

Conversely, the total soluble solids, pH, TSS:TA ratio, microbial activity increased by increasing the storage duration of whole fruit.

Click here to enlarge.

The scientists conclude that it is possible processing whole melons stored for 3 weeks at 10 °C to obtain a fresh-cut cantaloupe that can be stored at 2°C for 19 days without compromising its quality and safety.

Source: Munira Z.A., Rosnah S., Zaulia O., Russly A.R., ‘Effect of postharvest storage of whole fruit on physico-chemical and microbial changes of fresh-cut cantaloupe (Cucumis melo L. reticulatus cv. Glamour),' International Food Research Journal, 2013, 20(1):501-508.

Publication date: 5/14/2013
Author: Emanuela Fontana
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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