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Panchanadham C. Talasila, Arthur C. Cameron, and Dennis W. Joles

In one set of modified-atmosphere (MA) packages of cut broccoli (Brassica oleracea L., Italica Group), O2 partial pressures ranged from 1.2 to 3.6 kPa at 0C [88 packages, 0.00268-cm-thick low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film, 600-cm2 film area, 40±0.5 g cut broccoli], and in another set (94 packages, same film and area as before, 25±0.5 g cut broccoli) they ranged from 5.0 to 9.2 kPa. For characterizing O2 uptake as a function of O2 partial pressure and determining anaerobic fermentation induction point at 0C, a range of steady-state package O2 partial pressures was generated by placing different amounts of cut broccoli (10 to 160 g) in LDPE packages. Oxygen uptake was modeled using a Michaelis-Menten-type equation. The maximum rate of product O2 uptake when O2 partial pressure was nonlimiting and the package O2 partial pressure corresponding to half-maximum O2 uptake were estimated as 147±3 nmol·kg-1·s-1 and 0.26±0.025 kPa, respectively. Respiratory quotient and head space ethanol increased sharply below package O2 partial pressures of 0.15 kPa, indicating stimulation of fermentation within the packages. The frequency distributions of CO2 production rates were measured for 80 samples of 100 g each of cut broccoli at two O2 partial pressures (21.0 kPa and 1.3 kPa) using a flow-through method. The average coefficient of variation of the CO2 production rate was ≈5%. Frequency distributions of O2 partial pressures were modeled as a function of product-to-product variation in O2 uptake and package-to-package variation in film permeability using the estimated O2 uptake characteristics and coefficient of variation. The model was used to predict the target O2 partial pressures for the design of cut broccoli MA packages. It was predicted that the packages for cut broccoli at 0C should be designed for a target O2 partial pressure of 2.54 kPa to have actual package O2 partial pressures ≥1.0 kPa at 0.0001% probability level. Film specifications for MA packaging of cut broccoli at 0C were calculated based on the predicted target O2 partial pressures.

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Sannai Gong and Kenneth A. Corey

Mathematical procedures for predicting steady-state O2 concentrations for a range of packaging conditions for modified-atmosphere packages (MAP) of `Heinz 1370' tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) were developed and tested. The relationship between O2 consumption rate and O2 concentration was determined using O2 depletion data collected by enclosing tomatoes in jars and sampling head space O2 concentration over time. The fitted function was then used in conjunction with the input variables film permeability to O2 (PO2), film surface area (A), and fruit weight in packages (Wp) to develop an equation to predict steady-state O2 concentrations for different packaging ratios (A/Wp) and film permeabilities. Prediction curves showing steady-state O2 concentration for packaging ratios in the range of 1 to 12 closely resembled best-fit curves of experimental data. Increasing temperature from 20 to 28C had little effect on in-package O2 concentration, but decreasing temperature from 28 to 10C led to higher in-package O2 concentrations. The predictive equation developed can be used to select appropriate films and optimize packaging ratios to achieve desired steady-state O2 concentrations for MAP of tomatoes.

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Randolph M. Beaudry, Arthur C. Cameron, Ahmad Shirazi, and Diana L. Dostal-Lange

Highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L. `Bluecrop') fruit sealed in low-density polyethylene packages were incubated at 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25C until O2 and CO2 levels in the package reached a steady state. A range of steady-state O2 partial pressures (1 to 18 kPa) was created by placing a range of fruit weights within packages having a constant surface area and film thickness. The steady-state O2 partial pressure in packages containing the same weight of fruit decreased as temperature increased, indicating the respiratory rate rose more rapidly (i.e., had a greater sensitivity to temperature) than O2 transmission through the film. Steady-state O2 and CO2 partial pressures were used to calculate rates of O2 uptake. CO2 Production. and the respiratory quotient (RO). The effects of temperature and 02 partial pressure on O2 uptake and CO2 production and the RQ were characte∼zed. The steady-state O, partial pressure at which the fruit began to exhibit anaerobic CO2 production (the RQ breakpoint) increased with increasing temperature, which implies that blueberry fruit can be stored at lower O2 partial pressures when stored at lower temperatures.

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Dennis W. Joles, Arthur C. Cameron, Ahmad Shirazi, Peter D. Petracek, and Randolph M. Beaudry

`Heritage' raspberries (Rubus idaeus L.) were sealed in low-density polyethylene packages and stored at 0, 10, and 20C during Fall 1990 and 1991 to study respiratory responses under modified atmospheres. A range of steady-state O2 and CO2 partial pressures were achieved by varying fruit weight in packages of a specific surface area and film thickness. Film permeability to O2 and CO2 was measured and combined with surface area and film thickness to estimate total package permeability. Rates of O2 uptake and CO2 production and respiratory quotient (RQ) were calculated using steady-state O2 and CO2 partial pressures, total package permeability, and fruit weight. The O2 uptake rate decreased with decreasing O2 partial pressure over the range of partial pressure studied. The Michaelis-Menten equation was used to model O2 uptake as a function of O2 partial pressure and temperature. The apparent Km(K½) remained constant (5.6 kPa O2 with temperature, while Q10 was estimated to be 1.9. RQ was modeled as a function of O2 partial pressure and temperature. Headspace ethanol increased at RQs >1.3 to 1.5. Based on RQ, ethanol production, and flavor, we recommend that raspberries be stored at O2 levels above 4 kPa at 0C, 6 kPa at 10C, and 8 kPa at 20C. Steady-state CO2 partial pressures of 3 to 17 kPa had little or no effect on O2 uptake or headspace ethanol partial pressures at 20C.

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Randolph Beaudry and Arthur Cameron

The steady-state oxygen concentration at which blueberry fruit began to exhibit anaerobic carbon dioxide production. (i.e., the RQ breakpoint) was determined for fruit held at 0, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 C using a modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) system. As fruit temperature decreased, the RQ breakpoint occurred at lower oxygen concentrations. The decrease in the RQ breakpoint oxygen is thought to be due to a decreasing oxygen demand of the cooler fruit.

The decrease in oxygen demand and concomitant decrease in oxygen flux would have resulted in a decrease in the difference in the oxygen concentrate on between the inside and outside of the fruit and thus decreased the minimum amount of oxygen tolerated. The implications on MAP strategies will be discussed.

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Sannai Gong and Kenneth A. Corey

A rapid steady state method for measurement of gas permeability of polymeric films was developed. Films were sealed between two equal volume chambers with pure O2 and pure N2 flowing through opposite sides. Oxygen concentration in the N2 cell was measured over time until steady state was reached. The method was used to determine oxygen permeability of two different films. Results from four replications on each film indicated excellent repeatability with coefficients of variation less than 3%. The time required to reach steady state oxygen concentration was dependent upon film type, flow rate, and temperature. The higher the N2 flow rate the shorter the time to reach steady state O2 concentrations. The slowest measurement at the lowest flow rate of 27 ml/min took less than 3 hours to collect the data necessary to achieve steady state. Increasing temperature from 10°C to 20°C resulted in an approximately 40% increase in O2 permeability for both films tested. The technique will be a valuable tool for measuring permeabilities of new films and the same film at different temperatures, and for selecting the appropriate material for modified atmosphere packaging of fresh produce.

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Nihal C. Rajapakse, Nigel H. Banks, Errol W. Hewett, and Donald J. Cleland

Steady-state oxygen diffusion in flesh of apples (Malus domestics Borkh. cvs. Braeburn and Cox's Orange Pippin), Asian pears (Pyrus serotina Rehder. cvs. Hosui and Kosui), and nectarines [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch. cvs. Red Gold and Sunglo] was studied using a nondestructive method at 20C. Fruit flesh was found to exert a significant resistance to O2 diffusion resulting in measurable O2 gradients between tissues immediately beneath the skin and those at the fruit center for all these fruits. The magnitude of these O2 gradients varied between crops and cultivars and depended on the respiration rate and on effective O2 diffusivity in fruit flesh (De). Values of Dc varied with the cultivar and were broadly consistent with intercellular space volume. The range of De values obtained suggested that 02 diffusion in fruit flesh takes place in a combination of series and parallel modes in the intercellular space and fluid/solid matrix of the flesh. The results imply that O2 diffusivity in flesh tissues must be taken into consideration in the determination of critical external O2 level in controlled/modified atmosphere (CA/MA) storage.

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M. Helena Gomes, Randolph M. Beaudry, and Domingos P.F. Almeida

slight fermentation at steady-state oxygen concentrations. This is not uncommon in fresh-cut melons, in which the loss of malic acid at 20 °C can be related to malo-lactic fermentation by the lactic acid bacteria ( Lamikanra et al., 2000 ). Also, in fresh