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Ji Gang Kim*, Yaguang Luo, Yang Tao and Kenneth C. Gross

The effects of 1-methylcyclopropene (MCP), sanitizer and their combination on ethylene action, microbial growth and storage life of fresh-cut cilantro were studied. Fresh cilantro was treated with 1.5 μL·L-1 MCP for 18 hours at 10 °C. The treated and nontreated cilantro leaves were cut and washed in water, chlorine, and mixed solution of sodium chlorite and citric acid (SANOVA). Samples were dried, packaged with 29.2μmol·kg-1 Pa s oxygen transmission rate films, and stored for 14 days at 5 °C. Results indicated that MCP affected respiration rate of fresh-cut cilantro and the headspace gas composition (O2 and CO2) of sample packages. The combined treatment had lower tissue electrolyte leakage and ethanol concentration, and delayed color changes during storage. SANOVA and the combination of MCP and SANOVA were effective in reducing aerobic microbial population and coliform population. Samples treated with MCP and SANOVA had good quality with high overall quality score at the end of storage.

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Ji Gang Kim, Sun Tay Choi and Chai Il Lim

Modified atmosphere (MA) packaging has been used to maintain quality of fresh-cut lettuce, but O2 depletion and excessive CO2 accumulation can be injurious. This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of delayed MA packaging using three different films on quality maintenance of fresh-cut iceberg lettuce. Iceberg lettuce leaves were sliced, washed, dried, and placed for 0, 5, 10, and 15 hours under air atmosphere at 5 °C. Samples were packaged with 2.9 and 16.6 pmol·kg·Pa·s, oxygen transmission rate (OTR) films and microperforated film (P-plus), and stored for 12 days at 5 °C. Results indicated that delayed packaging affected gas composition (O2 and CO2), fermentative volatile production, off-odor, color, and tissue electrolyte leakage. With 2.9 OTR film, longer delayed time maintained quality by inhibiting off-odor development and the accumulation of ethanol. However, delayed packaging was not effective in maintaining quality of samples packaged with 16.6 OTR film and P-plus film. Regardless of delayed time, all 16.6 OTR-packaged samples had severe discoloration after 7 days of storage. All delayed treatments packaged with P-plus film attained the desired O2 (3–5 kPa) and CO2 levels (10–12 kPa) from day 9 to the end of storage. A 15-hour delayed packaging into packages prepared from 2.9 OTR film and samples packaged with P-plus film maintained quality by inhibiting off-odor development. The results indicate that delayed packaging could be an alternative method when fresh-cut lettuce is packaged with low OTR films.

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Ji Gang Kim, Yaguang Luo, Robert A. Saftner and Kenneth C. Gross

Fresh-cut tissues are subjected to severe injury during preparation that leads to increased respiratory activity and quality deterioration. Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) has been used to maintain quality of fresh-cut produce, but O2 depletion and excessive CO2 accumulation can be injurious. This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of delayed packaging and MAP using two different oxygen transmission rate (OTR) films on quality maintenance and shelf stability of fresh-cut romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). Romaine lettuce leaves were cut, washed, dried, and placed for 0, 4, 8, and 12 hours at 5 °C in ambient air before packaging. Fresh-cut samples were placed into packages prepared from films having OTRs of 8.0 and 16.6 pmol·s-1·m-2·Pa-1, flushed with N2 to reach an initial headspace O2 level of 1.5 kPa O2, and stored at 5 °C for up to 14 days. Delayed packaging affected gas composition, fermentative volatile production, off-odor development, color, CO2 injury, and tissue electrolyte leakage. With increasing delay before packaging, fermentative volatile production, off-odor development, and CO2 injury progressively decreased and discoloration increased. The modified atmospheres obtained with 16.6 OTR film increased discoloration when present, and generally had less off-odor development and CO2 injury compared to MAP with 8.0 OTR film. Delayed packaging affected overall quality of fresh-cut romaine lettuce packaged with both films. A 12-hour delayed packaging into packages prepared from 8.0 OTR film maintained quality by inhibiting CO2 injury, off-odor development, and tissue electrolyte leakage. However, an 8-hour delayed packaging into packages prepared from 16.6 OTR film was better at maintaining the quality of fresh-cut romaine lettuce at 5 °C for 14 days. The results indicated that delayed packaging could be an alternative method to optimize or balance package O2 during suboptimal OTR film packaging conditions.

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Yaguang Luo, James L. McEvoy, Marian R. Wachtel, Ji Gang Kim and Yun Huang

Experiments were conducted to develop a modified atmosphere packaging system for fresh-cut cilantro (Coriandrum sativum L.) leaves, and to determine the effect of package film oxygen transmission rate (OTR) on package atmosphere and the consequence on quality and microbiology of the product. Package film OTR significantly (P < 0.001) influenced the package atmospheres and the resultant postharvest physiology and quality of fresh-cut cilantro leaves under the tested package configuration (bag size 19 × 22 cm, product fill weight 85 g/bag) and storage condition (0 °C). Oxygen and carbon dioxide levels of the packages prepared with 3500 mL·d-1·m-2 OTR films equilibrated at 1.5 to 2.3 kPa and 3.6 to 4.1 kPa, respectively, on day 3 and maintained this level throughout the storage. The gas compositions of the packages with 6200 mL·d-1·m-2 OTR films showed a similar trend, except they equilibrated at a higher O2 (3.6 to 5.6 kPa) and lower CO2 (2.7 to 3.3 kPa) level. Fresh-cut cilantro leaves in both packages exhibited the highest tissue integrity as evidenced by the lowest tissue electrolyte leakage, with high overall visual quality scores (like moderately to like very much) at the end of 14 days storage. However, atmospheres in 1700 mL·d-1·m-2 OTR film packages displayed a rapid depletion of O2 and accumulation of CO2, with essentially no O2 (≈0.02 kPa) and high CO2 (7.7 to 9.0 kPa) levels inside the packages from day 6 until the end of storage. A rapid increase in tissue electrolyte leakage was observed in cilantro leaves in these packages starting on day 6, increasing 6-fold at the end of the storage period. Products in these packages developed a strong off-odor, accompanied by a rapid loss of typical aroma and overall visual quality, with an unacceptable quality rating at the end of storage (dislike slightly). Samples packaged in perforated bags (without modified atmosphere) lost moisture over time, and small numbers of wilted leaves were seen. There was a slow but significant (P < 0.001) increase in aerobic organisms over time with no significant (P > 0.05) difference among treatments. There was an increase in anaerobic microorganisms on cilantro leaves packaged in 1700 mL·d-1·m-2 OTR film, although only ≈0.5 log cfu/g difference was observed among the treatments and over time.

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Sun Tay Choi, Judith Abbott, Kyu Seob Chang, Ji Gang Kim and Chae Il Lim

The relation between sensory and instrumental measurements of apple texture was investigated to find an effective postharvest texture measurement method of apple. Then nondestructive evaluation of texture and weight loss using NIR was conducted. `Gala' and `Fuji' apples were sampled during storage at 20 °C with 80% to 85% relative humidity. Instrumental measurements included penetration, compression, and bending tests with a texture analyzer, and sensory attributes were finger firmness, hardness, crispness, and mealiness. The penetration test was more effective for postharvest texture measurement than compression and bending tests in the correlation between sensory texture and instrumental measurement. As texture evaluation parameters, elastic modulus (slope before rupture point) and work (area to penetrate) of penetration test were more sensitive than maximum force. Maximum force, generally used as the parameter for texture evaluation, had a little problem under influence of weight loss in `Fuji'; however, elastic modulus and work could detect the texture change of apple under influence of weight loss as well as softening. In the investigation of possibility of nondestructive evaluation using NIR of texture, the MLR analysis for elastic modulus determination of penetration test showed good correlation (R = 0.82, SEP = 2.66) in combination of two cultivars. Also, in the weight loss evaluation, MLR analysis showed the prediction correlation of 0.79 and SEP 1.08 in combination of two cultivars. These results showed the possibility of nondestructive evaluation using NIR of postharvest texture and weight loss.