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Open access

Sai Xu, Huazhong Lu, and Xiuxiu Sun

Susceptibility to mechanical injury and fast decay rates are currently two main problems of litchi fruit after harvesting. To achieve better postharvest management of litchi fruit, this study aimed to find an effective method of litchi fruit supervision during the circulation process that included mechanical injury detection and storage quality detection. For mechanical injury detection, injury-free litchis without any treatment and litchis with mild and severe mechanical injuries were dropped from 80 and 110 cm high, respectively. The electronic nose (E-nose) response, total soluble solid (TSS), and titratable acidity (TA) of samples were tested on days 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 after injury at room temperature. For storage quality detection, normal litchis were stored in a cold environment. The E-nose response, TSS, and TA of samples were tested on storage days 0, 3, 6, 10, 15, 19, and 24. The experimental results showed that mechanical injury not only accelerated pericarp browning but also accelerated flavor (TA and TSS) loss. The browning index quickly increased during storage, and the TSS and TA of defect-free litchis changed only barely at room temperature and during cold environment storage. After feature extraction, mechanical injury of litchi can be well-detected by E-nose from day 1 to day 4 after injury. The best mechanical injury detection time of litchi fruit is at day 4 after injury under room temperature storage conditions. After singular sensor elimination and comprehensive feature extraction, the storage time and browning degree, but not TSS and TA, of litchi fruit can be detected by E-nose. E-nose data preprocessing should differ according to the litchi variety and detection target.

Free access

Xiuxiu Sun, Elizabeth Baldwin, Mark Ritenour, Robert Hagenmaier, and Jinhe Bai

In Florida, early season citrus fruits usually reach full maturity in terms of internal quality while their peel often does not turn to orange color after degreening due to insufficient buildup of carotenoids. For huanglongbing (HLB)-affected orange trees, the fruit may never turn orange during the entire harvest season, despite any cold weather. Improvement of early season citrus peel color is important to the citrus industry to better meet consumer expectations. Occasionally, packinghouses apply a dye, Citrus Red No. 2 (CR2), to improve the surface color of oranges, temples, and tangelos before applying a fruit wax to impart shine, retain moisture, and slow fruit senescence. In a previous report, we determined that paprika and annatto extracts are comparable to CR2 as natural colorant alternatives. In this research, the goal was to formulate a natural colorant [annatto, paprika, or paprika oleoresin (PO)]-containing carnauba wax coating. The coatings were first evaluated for color, shine, moisture retention, respiration rate, ethylene production, and internal gas content. Control fruit were coated with carnauba wax alone, or dyed with CR2 then coated with carnauba wax. The effects were assessed under different temperature and light exposure conditions to simulate commercial storage and marketing. The results showed that a one-step application of paprika-containing carnauba wax was comparable to the two-step (“CR2 then wax”) applications in improving fruit appearance and modification of internal gas composition.

Free access

Xiuxiu Sun, Elizabeth Baldwin, Mark Ritenour, Anne Plotto, and Jinhe Bai

Warm field temperatures can often result in poor peel color of some citrus varieties, especially early in the harvest season. Under these conditions, Florida oranges, temples, tangelos, and K-Early citrus fruit are allowed to be treated with Citrus Red No.2 dye (CR2) to help produce a more acceptable peel color. Unfortunately, CR2, the commercial colorant used in Florida, has been listed as a group 2B carcinogen by the European Union (EU) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Although not likely dangerous at levels used on citrus, and on a part of the fruit that is not ingested, there is a negative health perception, and thus, a need for natural or food grade alternative colorants to replace CR2 for use on citrus. This research demonstrated that three out of five oil-soluble natural red/orange colorants resulted in peel colors somewhat similar to the industry standard CR2. These three (annatto extract, paprika extract, and paprika oleoresin) were selected for further in vivo studies. The stability of the natural colorants along with CR2 was evaluated by applying them on test papers and then on fresh ‘Hamlin’ oranges. All natural colorants were found to be easily oxidized and faded when applied on test papers. However, coating the colored surfaces with carnauba wax apparently inhibited oxidation and the subsequent discoloration of the surface. When applying the natural colorants to ‘Hamlin’ oranges before waxing, the treatments retained the improved color after storage in the dark at 5 °C, simulating cold storage. However, only annatto extract maintained a stable color when subsequently stored in a simulated market condition, at 23 °C exposed to 300 lx of standard fluorescent white light.

Free access

Xiuxiu Sun, Elizabeth Baldwin, Chris Ference, Jan Narciso, Anne Plotto, Mark Ritenour, Ken Harrison, Dave Gangemi, and Jinhe Bai

The effect of controlled-release chlorine dioxide (ClO2) gas on the safety and quality of grapefruit was studied. The experiments were run under controlled chamber systems with inoculated fruit, and in boxed fruit under commercial conditions. For the inoculation test, fruit artificially inoculated with either Escherichia coli or Penicillium digitatum, or naturally inoculated Xanthomonas citri ssp. citri (Xcc) (fruits with citrus canker lesions), were incubated in a chamber containing a dose equivalent to 0–60 mg·L−1 of pure ClO2 as an antimicrobial agent. After 24 hours, the microbial population on treated grapefruit was significantly reduced compared with that of control fruit: a dosage of 5 mg·L−1 completely inhibit the growth of E. coli and P. digitatum, but a dosage of 60 mg·L−1 was needed to completely kill Xcc. For the simulated commercial experiment, fruit were harvested in late Oct. 2015 passed through a commercial packing line, and packed in 29 L citrus boxes. ClO2 packets were attached to the top lids with the following five treatments: fast-release, slow-release, slow/fast-release combination (each containing 14.5 mg·L−1 of pure ClO2), double dose fast-release (containing 29 mg·L−1 of ClO2), and control. After 6 weeks of storage at 10 °C (to simulate storage and transportation) + 1 week of storage at 20 °C (to simulate retail marketing), the fruit quality was evaluated. The slow-release treatment at standard dose exhibited the best antimicrobial activity, reducing total aerobic bacterial count and yeast/mold count by 0.95 and 0.94 log colony-forming units (cfu)/g of fruit, respectively, and maintained the best visual, sensory, and overall quality. However, the higher dosage treatments resulted in phytotoxicity as evidenced by peel browning.

Open access

Marcela Miranda, Xiuxiu Sun, Christopher Ference, Anne Plotto, Jinhe Bai, David Wood, Odílio Benedito Garrido Assis, Marcos David Ferreira, and Elizabeth Baldwin

Coatings are generally applied to fruit as microemulsions, but nanoemulsions are still experimental. ‘Nova’ mandarins (Citrus reticulata) were coated with shellac or carnauba (Copernica cerifera) microemulsions or an experimental carnauba nanoemulsion; these were compared with an uncoated control during storage for 7 days at 20 °C. Coatings were also tested on ‘Unique’ tangors (C. reticulata × C. sinensis) stored for 14 days at 10 °C followed by a simulated marketing period of 7 days at 20 °C. Fruit quality evaluations included weight loss, gloss, soluble solids (SS), titratable acidity (TA), pH, SS/TA ratio, internal CO2, O2, fruit juice ethanol, and other aroma volatile content. Sensory visual shine and tangerine (C. reticulata) flavor rank tests after storage were conducted, followed by an off-flavor rating. The carnauba waxes resulted in less weight loss compared with the uncoated control and shellac coating during both experiments. There were no differences in gloss measurements of ‘Nova’ mandarins; however, shellac-coated fruit ranked highest for shine in a sensory test. For ‘Unique’ tangors, initially, shellac showed the highest gloss (shine) measurement; however, at the end of storage, the nanoemulsion exhibited the highest gloss, although it was not different from that of the microemulsion. Similarly, after storage, the nanoemulsion ranked highest for visual shine, although it was not different from that of the microemulsion. There were only minor differences in SS, TA, pH, and SS/TA among treatments. The internal CO2 gas concentration and juice ethanol content generally increased and internal O2 decreased during storage. The highest levels of CO2 and ethanol were found for the shellac treatment, as was the lowest O2, indicating anaerobic respiration. There were only minor differences among the other coating treatments; however, they were only sometimes different from those of the control, which generally had the highest O2, lowest CO2, and lowest ethanol. Shellac and the carnauba microemulsion also altered the volatile profile more than the control and the nanoemulsion did, especially for ‘Unique’ tangors. For ‘Unique’ tangors, the control and nanoemulsion ranked highest for tangerine flavor and had the least off-flavor at the end of storage. Among the coatings tested, the carnauba emulsions demonstrated less water loss, imparted more sustainable gloss, and caused less ethanol production than shellac, with the nanoemulsion exhibiting higher gloss measurements, less modifications of the atmosphere and volatile profile, and, consequently, better flavor compared with the microemulsion.