515 Chlorophyll Fluorescence as an Indicator of Anaerobic Metabolite Levels for Broccoli in MAP and Subsequent Air Storage

in HortScience
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  • 1Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Horticultural Research and Development Centre, 430 Boul. Gouin, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC J3B 3E6; 2Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre, Summerland, BC V0H 1Z0

When the gas concentrations of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) become extreme for broccoli (<2 kPa O2 and >10 kPa CO2), off-odors and off-flavors may develop via anaerobic respiration, rendering it unmarketable. We recently showed that chlorophyll fluorescence decreases when broccoli switches to anaerobic behavior in MAP. The objectives of this study were to determine: 1) if chlorophyll fluorescence returns to normal levels after the package is opened and hence the broccoli is exposed to ambient air, and 2) if chlorophyll fluorescence is related to off-odors that develop. Broccoli heads were held in MAP (2 to 3 kPa O2 and >10 kPa CO2) at 0 to 1 °C for 4, 7, 14, 21, or 28 days, and then 5 days in ambient air at 0 to 1 °C. Chlorophyll fluorescence of the broccoli decreased dramatically in MAP, and remained low during the subsequent 5 days in ambient air. Similarly, off-odors became worse and acetaldehyde, ethanol, and ethyl acetate increased in the broccoli with time in MAP. However, these compounds slightly decreased during the subsequent 5 days of storage in ambient air. Chlorophyll fluorescence parameters correlated negatively with off-odor development and acetaldehyde, ethanol, and ethyl acetate levels in the tissue.

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