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  • Author or Editor: J.M. Krochta x
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Rancidity is a major problem during the storage of shelled peanuts and walnuts. Blanched peanuts, blanched dry roasted peanuts, blanched oil roasted peanuts (all of them extra large Virginia variety) and shelled Persian walnut (Chandler variety) were maintained in closed jars at 37 C. Relative humidity was controlled by saturated salt solutions at 20% and 55%. Oxygen concentration was 21% or reduced to 0.1% by flushing with nitrogen.

Samples were taken every 2 weeks for 10 weeks. Peroxide values were measured and volatiles were analyzed to determine the rancidity of the samples. Oxygen concentrations in the jars and nut moisture were also measured.

Dry roasted peanuts were the most susceptible to rancidity. Blanched peanuts, without any roasting process, were the most stable. The results quantified the importance of oxygen as a major factor in rancidity at the relative humidities studied. It was concluded that it is possible to quantitatively control the rancidity process by decreasing the oxygen concentration surrounding the nuts.

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Fruit processing treatments, such as osmotic dehydration, washing, aqueous dips and coatings applications, and even microbial adhesion, depend critically on the surface energy of surfaces. Knowledge of these values can be used as reference targets for treatment formulations when complete wetting is necessary. Unripened and ripened tomato cultivars, `Ace' and `Castlemart', and bell pepper cultivars `California Wonder' and `Garden Sunshine' were characterized by color, firmness, and soluble solids, and evaluated for their surface energy. Calculated surface energy was obtained using Fowkes' equation by measuring contact angles of a series of pure surfactants of different HLB values on the fruit surface and by comparing with a reference paraffin surface of 25.5 dynes/cm. Results indicated that surface energies were similar between both types of fruits, while there were differences between maturity stages for tomato fruits. Surface energy in all cases was lower than 30 dynes/cm, indicating the hydrophobic nature of the epicuticular surface of the fruits tested.

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Nettability is an important factor to be considered in postharvest treatments such as washing, aqueous dippings, coatings, etc. Pome fruits (ten apple and four pear cultivars) and stone fruits (nectarine and plums) were evaluated for wetting behavior and surface tension at room temperature. Nettability was assessed by measuring contact angles of water. Surface tension was calculated by measuring contact angles of methylene iodide and water or by a series of pure surfactants using Zisman's method. Wetting behavior on apple fruits depended on cultivar, with water contact angles ranging from 75° to 131°. For pear fruits, wetting also depended on cultivar. Calculated surface tensions of pear fruits were in general higher than most apple cultivars tested. In stone fruits, plums presented a high water-repellency with a contact angle of 137°.

The wetting of fruit surfaces seems to be governed by the nature of the chemical groups exposed on the surface of the cuticle and also by the surface roughness, as evidenced by tire high values of some contact angles.

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