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  • Author or Editor: Ana Victoria Torres-Penaranda x
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Freshly harvested asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.) spears were exposed to an anaerobic N2 atmosphere for 0, 2, 4, or 6 hours at 2.5 or 20C and then returned to 2.5C. Carbon dioxide production was measured each day, starting 3 days before and ending 11 days after the treatment. Significant increases in CO2 production relative to 0-hour controls were found within 1 day of treatment at 20C and were directly proportional to the duration of the anaerobic exposure. At 2.5C, CO2 production relative to the 0-hour control was stimulated by the 2- and 4-hour treatments and depressed by the 6-hour treatment, with the relative rate of production inversely proportional to the duration of the anaerobic treatment. A decrease in CO2 production occurred 7 days after N2 treatment, regardless of temperature. A sensory panel evaluated effects of treatments on appearance quality 7 and 15 days after treatment and on taste quality 4 days after treatment. Judges could not detect any significant differences between anaerobic treatments and control. No significant difference was found in the percent of decayed asparagus among treatments as detected by visual evaluation 6 days after treatment. It appears that exposure to an anaerobic N2 atmosphere for up to 6 hours was not detrimental to the storability or quality of harvested asparagus spears. These results indicate that cooling with vaporized liquid N2, during which an anaerobic atmosphere could be produced before the spears were significantly cooled, would not reduce subsequent quality or storability.

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