350 Quality Changes of Spinach Stored in Controlled and Modified Atmospheres

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  • 1 IREGEP, Colegio de Posgraduados, Montecillo, C.P. 56230 Edo. de Mexico
  • | 2 Dept. Vegetable Crops, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

Spinach is not packed commercially in modified-atmosphere packaging due to difficulties in maintaining beneficial conditions during distribution, where temperature fluctuations can occur. However, low O2 and high CO2 atmospheres can be useful to retard yellowing and deterioration. In two experiments we studied developing and full-size leaves stored at 7.5 °C in air and controlled atmospheres of 0.5% O2 + 10%CO2 and 5%O2 + 10% or 20% CO2. Subjective quality evaluations (visual quality, decay, discoloration, off-odors, and yellowing) and objective evaluations (L*a*b* color values, chlorophyll, pH and titratable acidity, ammonia, and ethanol and acetaldehyde) were conducted every 3 days during 15 days. The developing leaves had higher visual quality and lower off-odor scores during storage than did the full-size leaves. In air storage, leaves were below the limit of salability by day 12. The atmospheres containing 10% CO2 were similarly effective in maintaining the visual quality and greenness of the leaves, and reduced off-odors in developing but not full-size leaves. The 20% CO2 atmosphere resulted in some leaf damage. Ammonia concentrations increased during storage, with lowest and highest concentrations in leaves stored in air and 20% CO2, respectively. Tissue pH only slightly increased from 6.5 in air-stored samples, but increased notably during storage in the controlled atmospheres. At 2.5 and 7.5 °C, a plastic film providing a 5% O2 and 6% CO2 atmosphere resulted in better quality spinach than that obtained with either a 10% O2 and 3% CO2 package atmosphere or the commercial perforated polybag.

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