Chlorophyll Fluorescence as a Nondestructive Indicator of Broccoli Quality during Storage in Modified-atmosphere Packaging

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  • 1 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Horticultural Research and Development Centre, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC, Canada J3B 3E6
  • | 2 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre, Summerland, BC, Canada V0H 1Z0

The objective of this study was to determine if chlorophyll fluorescence could be used as an indicator of anaerobic respiration in broccoli (Brassica oleracea L., Italica group) during modified-atmosphere packaging (MAP). Two types of packages were used, PD-941 bags, which provided optimum MAP conditions for broccoli (≈3 kPa O2 plus 5 kPa CO2), and PD-961EZ bags, which allowed the CO2 to accumulate (≈11 kPa CO2). After 28 days in MAP at 1 °C, the broccoli from both types of bag had similar appearances and weight losses. However, broccoli held in the PD-961EZ bags had developed slight to moderate alcoholic off-odors and had higher ethanol, acetaldehyde, and ethyl acetate content, as compared with broccoli in PD-941 bags. Chlorophyll fluorescence parameters (Fv/Fm, T1/2, Fmd, and ΦPSII) were lower for broccoli held in the PD-961EZ bags than in PD-941 bags, and these differences increased with storage duration. These results indicate that chlorophyll fluorescence is a reliable, rapid, nondestructive indicator of broccoli quality during MAP, and that it could be used to determine if broccoli has developed off-odors without opening the bag and disrupting the package atmosphere.

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