A COMBINED METHOD OF POST-HARVEST HANDLING OF SWEET CHERRY FRUIT VERSUS FRUIT STORABILITY
The objective of the research was to determine an optimum method of postharvest handling of sweet cherry fruits which may contribute to prolonged shelf-life. The following physical factors were examined – storage temperature: 2–4°C, 6–8°C, 18–20°C; postharvest fruit packaging and treatment: Xtend® CH-49 bags + no exposure to UV-C, Xtend® + exposure to UV-C for 120 s or 600 s, no bagging + no exposure to UV-C, no bagging + UV-C for 120 s or 600 s. UV-C irradiation, regardless of the duration and storage conditions, prolonged the storage life of sweet cherry fruit. During the 14-day period of storage, the smallest weight loss as well as the highest number of fruits suitable for consumption were found after exposure to UV-C for 600 s in both Xtend® bags and flat, exposed polyethylene containers. After 28 days, higher amount of fruits suitable for consumption were found after storage at 2–4°C than at 6–8ºC. The most advantageous postharvest treatment method was placing fruits in containers and irradiating them with UV-C for 600 s. However, statistically similar results were obtained also after packing the fruits in Xtend® bags and irradiating them with UV-C for 600 s as well as placing them in containers and irradiation with UV-C for 120 s. In addition, UV-C irradiated fruits for 120 s and 600 s contained significantly more reducing sugars than non-irradiated fruits after 14 days of storage. UV-C irradiated fruits for 600 s also contained the greatest amount of flavonoids. After 28 days of storage, the highest content of flavonoids and phenols was determined in UV-C exposed fruits stored in containers. In addition, it emerged that storing sweet cherry fruit at 2–4°C without bagging contributed to increased total phenolic content compared with fruit stored in Xtend® bags. Packaging cherry fruit in Xtend® bags is the most reasonable when it stored at 6–8°C and at room temperature.
Xtend MAP bags; UV-C irradiation; sugars; ascorbic acid; phenolic; food safety
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