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Ji Heun Hong and Ken Gross

Fresh-cut produce continues to be a rapidly growing industry. However, there is little information available on storage conditions for many commodities, particularly for fresh-cut tomato slices. A major problem with fresh-cut tomato slices is their short shelf-life. The best method to extend shelf-life is refrigerated storage, preferably around 4 to 5 °C. Unfortunately, tomato tissue is susceptible to chilling injury at such temperatures. Experiments were conducted to compare changes in quality of slices from red tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) fruit during storage at 5 or 10 °C under various modified-atmosphere conditions. In this study, we used the fourth uniform slice from the stem end and analyzed for various quality attributes during the storage period. At both 5 and 10 °C storage temperatures, ethylene concentration in containers sealed with Film A (oxygen transmission rate of 60.3 or 77.9 ml per hour per m2 at 1 atm and 99% relative humidity at 5 or 10 °C, respectively) was higher than that sealed with Film B (oxygen transmission rate of 87.4 or 119.4 ml per hour per m2 at 1 atm and 99% relative humidity at 5 or 10 °C, respectively), during storage. In addition, chilling injury, as measured by percent of slices showing some water soaked-areas, in containers sealed with Film B was higher than that of slices in containers sealed with Film A. The percent of visible fungal growth of slices was roughly correlated with the degree of chilling injury, as measured by the percent of slices showing some water soaked-areas. After 13 days of storage at 5 °C, slices stored in containers with a beginning atmospheric composition of 12% CO2 /1% O2 were firmer, compared to slices given the other treatments. After 9 days of storage at 10 °C, no visible fungal growth was observed on slices in containers with a beginning atmospheric composition of 12% CO2/1% O2 or 12% CO2/20% O2. However, slices in containers with a beginning atmospheric composition of air, or 4% CO2/1 or 20% O2 and 8% CO2/1 or 20% O2 did show visible signs of fungal growth at 25%, 33%, 46%, 29%, and 100% of infected slices, respectively. Slices in containers given all treatments, with the exception of 12% CO2/1% O2, had visible fungal growth after 15 days of storage at 5 °C. Slices in containers containing eight slices had less chilling injury and visible fungal growth than those containing four slices. Chilling injury of slices stored in completely enclosed plastic containers, similar to those commonly observed in grocery food stores, was over 7-fold higher than chilling injury observed in slices containers covered with Film A after 12 days of storage at 5 °C. However, there were no significant differences in the amounts of the volatiles we measured, i.e., ethanol, ethyl acetate, hexanol and hexanal, between the two container types. These results suggested that modified-atmosphere packaging storage can extend shelflife, as well as inhibit chilling injury in fresh-cut tomato slices.

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Ji Heun Hong and Ken Gross

Experiments were conducted to determine if ethylene influences chilling injury, as measured by percent of slices showing some water-soaked areas and associated fungal growth in fresh-cut tomato slices (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.; cvs. Mountain Pride and Sunbeam). Ethylene concentration in containers without a perforation (perforations were made by piercing the lid of the container forming a 0.7-mm hole) significantly increased during storage at 5 °C, while little or no accumulation of ethylene occurred in containers with from one to six perforations. Chilling injury was greatest in slices in containers with six perforations, compared to slices in containers with one perforation an,d was over 12-fold greater than that of slices in control containers with no perforations. The percent ofage visible fungal growth of slices was roughly correlated with the degree of chilling injury. An experiment was also performed to investigate the effectiveness of including an ethylene absorbent pad in containers on subsequent ethylene accumulation and chilling injury. While ethylene in the no-pad control increased continually during storage at 5 °C under modified-atmosphere conditions, no increase in accumulation of ethylene was observed in containers containing ethylene absorbent pads throughout storage with `Sunbeam' and `Mountain Pride' tomatoes. The ethylene absorbent pad treatment resulted in a significantly higher percent of chilling injury and visible fungal growth compared with the no-pad control. In studies aimed at inhibiting ethylene production using 1-aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG) during storage of slices, the concentration of ethylene in control containers (no AVG) remained at elevated levels throughout storage compared to containers with slices treated with AVG. Chilling injury in controls was 5-fold greater than that in slices treated with AVG. All slices treated with AVG had visible fungal growth, while the percent of slices showing visible fungal growth in no-AVG controls was 54%. Furthermore, we tested the effect of ethylene pretreatment of slices on subsequent slice shelf-life and quality. In slices treated with ethylene (0, 0.1, 1, and 10 μL·L-1) immediately after slicing, ethylene production in untreated controls was greater than that of all other ethylene pretreatments. However, pretreatment of slices at 3 days after slicing resulted in a different pattern of subsequent ethylene production during storage. The rate of ethylene production by slices treated with 1 μL·L-1 ethylene at 3 days after slicing was greater during storage than any of the other ethylene treatments. With slices pretreated with ethylene both immediately and 3 days after slicing, the rate of ethylene production tended to show an negative correlation with chilling injury.

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Ji Heun Hong and Kenneth C. Gross

Experiments were conducted to determine if ethylene influences chilling injury, as measured by percentage of slices exhibiting water-soaked areas in fresh-cut tomato slices of `Mountain Pride' and `Sunbeam' tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). Ethylene concentration in containers without ventilation significantly increased during storage at 5 °C, whereas little or no accumulation of ethylene occurred in containers with one or six perforations. Chilling injury was greatest for slices in containers with six perforations, compared to slices in containers with one perforation, and was over 13-fold greater than that of slices in control containers with no perforations. An experiment was also performed to investigate the effectiveness of including an ethylene absorbent pad in containers on subsequent ethylene accumulation and chilling injury. While ethylene in the no-pad controls increased continually during storage of both `Mountain Pride' and `Sunbeam' tomatoes at 5 °C under modified atmosphere conditions, no increase in accumulation of ethylene was observed in containers containing ethylene absorbent pads throughout storage. The ethylene absorbent pad treatment resulted in a significantly higher percentage of chilling injury compared with the no-pad control. In studies aimed at inhibiting ethylene production using AVG during storage of slices, the concentration of ethylene in control containers (no AVG) remained at elevated levels throughout storage, compared to containers with slices treated with AVG. Chilling injury in slices treated with AVG was 5-fold greater than that of controls. Further, we tested the effect of ethylene pretreatment of slices on subsequent slice shelf life and quality. In slices treated with ethylene (0, 0.1, 1, or 10 μL·L-1) immediately after slicing, ethylene production in nontreated controls was greater than that of all other ethylene pretreatments. However, pretreatment of slices 3 days after slicing resulted in a different pattern of ethylene production during storage. The rate of ethylene production by slices treated with 1 μL·L-1 ethylene 3 days after slicing was greater during storage than any of the other ethylene treatments. With slices pretreated with ethylene, both immediately and 3 days after slicing, the rate of ethylene production tended to show a negative correlation with chilling injury. Chemical name used: 1-aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG).

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Ji Heun Hong, Douglas J. Mills, C. Benjamin Coffman, James D. Anderson, Mary J. Camp and Kenneth C. Gross

Experiments were conducted to compare changes in quality of slices of red tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill., cv. Sunbeam) fruit from plants grown using black polyethylene or hairy vetch mulches under various foliar disease management systems including: no fungicide applications (NF), a disease forecasting model (Tom-Cast), and weekly fungicide applications (WF), during storage at 5 °C under a modified atmosphere. In this study, we used the fourth uniform slice from the stem end and analyzed for firmness, soluble solids content (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), pH, electrolyte leakage, molds, yeasts and occurrence of water-soaked areas. With both NF and Tom-Cast fungicide treatments, slices from tomato fruit grown with hairy vetch mulch showed greater firmness than those from tomato fruit grown with black polyethylene mulch after 12 d of storage. Ethylene production of slices from tomato fruit grown using hairy vetch mulch under Tom-Cast was about 1.5- and 5-fold higher than that of slices from tomato fruit grown under the WF and NF fungicide treatments after 12 d, respectively. Within each fungicide treatment, slices from tomato fruit grown using hairy vetch mulch showed less chilling injury (water-soaked areas) than those from tomatoes grown using black polyethylene mulch. The percentage of water-soaked areas for slices from tomato fruit grown using black polyethylene mulch under NF was over 7-fold that of slices from tomato fruit grown using hairy vetch under Tom-Cast. These results suggest that, under our conditions, fruit from plants grown using hairy vetch mulch may be more suitable for fresh-cut slices than those grown using black polyethylene mulch.

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Ji Heun Hong, Douglas J. Mills, C. Benjamin Coffman, James D. Anderson, Mary J. Camp and Kenneth C. Gross

Experiments were conducted to compare changes in quality of slices of red tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. `Sunbeam') fruit from plants grown using black polyethylene or hairy vetch mulches under various foliar disease management systems including: no fungicide applications (NF), a disease forecasting model (Tom-Cast), and weekly fungicide applications (WF), during storage at 5 °C under a modified atmosphere. Slices were analyzed for firmness, soluble solids content (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), pH, electrolyte leakage, fungi, yeasts, and chilling injury. With both NF and Tom-Cast fungicide treatments, slices from tomatoes grown with hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) mulch were firmer than those from tomatoes grown with black polyethylene mulch after 12 days storage. Ethylene production of slices from fruit grown using hairy vetch mulch under Tom-Cast was ≈1.5- and 5-fold higher than that of slices from WF and NF fungicide treatments after 12 days, respectively. The percentage of water-soaked areas (chilling injury) for slices from tomatoes grown using black polyethylene mulch under NF was over 7-fold that of slices from tomatoes grown using hairy vetch under Tom-Cast. When stored at 20 °C, slices from light-red tomatoes grown with black polyethylene or hairy vetch mulches both showed a rapid increase in electrolyte leakage beginning 6 hours after slicing. However, slices from tomatoes grown using the hairy vetch mulch tended to have lower electrolyte leakage than those grown with black polyethylene mulch. These results suggest that tomatoes from plants grown using hairy vetch mulch may be more suitable for fresh-cut slices than those grown using black polyethylene mulch. Also, use of the disease forecasting model Tom-Cast, which can result in lower fungicide application than is currently used commercially, resulted in high quality fruit for fresh-cut processing.