The influence of harvest period and fruit ripeness at harvest on minimally processed cactus pears (Opuntia ficus-indica L. Mill.) stored under passive atmosphere

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of (a) harvest season (summer and late crop), (b) fruitripening stage at harvest and (c) time of storage, on the quality of minimal processed cactus pear (Opuntiaficus-indica). Fresh cut peeled cactus pears harvested at commercial harvest stage or when ripe on tree inAugust (summer crop) and October (late crop), were stored for 3, 5, 7 and 12 d at 5 C and 95% RH inpolyethylene terephthalate (PET) packages under passive atmosphere conditions. Visual quality andcrunchiness score,flesh color, microbiological analysis, total soluble solids (TSS), total acidity (TA), totalphenolics, ascorbic acid and b-carotene contents were measured. TSS content in fruitflesh did notchange during storage, but late crop fruit harvested fully ripe had the highest content. The CO2concentration inside the package was higher for summer than late fruit and for fully ripe fruit thancommercial harvest stage. Fresh cut summer cactus pears lost their marketability and crunchiness after 3d, while those from the late crop retained good marketability after 5 or 7 d at 5 C, depending on theirripeness stage at harvest. Fresh cut fruit of the summer crop had twice the ascorbic acid content than latecop fruit until 5 d after storage. Fully ripe fresh cut fruit of the summer crop had the lowest b-carotenecontent. The mesophilic aerobic microorganisms did not change significantly with treatments, until 12 dafter storage, when fully ripe fresh cut fruit had the highest count. Mold content was higher in fully ripethan in fruit harvested at commercial ripeness. Ultimately, late fruit, manually peeled and stored at 5 Cunder passive atmosphere, retained their original quality longer than fully ripe fruit of the same season orsummer fruit harvested at either ripeness stage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-62
Number of pages6
JournalPostharvest Biology and Technology
Volume104
Publication statusPublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Horticulture

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