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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOP METHODS TO ASSESS AND IMPROVE POULTRY AND EGG QUALITY

Location: Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit

Title: Modified atmosphere packaging for fresh fruits and vegetables

Authors
item Zhuang, Hong
item Barth, Margaret -
item Cisneros-Zevallos, Luis -

Submitted to: Innovation in Food Packaging
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: August 6, 2013
Publication Date: October 18, 2013
Citation: Zhuang, H., Barth, M.M., Cisneros-Zevallos, L. 2013. Modified atmosphere packaging for fresh fruits and vegetables. Innovation in Food Packaging. p.445-464.

Interpretive Summary: Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is a packaging technology that modifies or alters the gas composition around the products in food packages from normal air to provide an atmosphere for increasing shelf life and maintaining quality of food. It has been used for fresh produce for decades. Compared with MAP for the other food products, MAP for fresh fruits and vegetables are much more challenging and complicated. Since fresh fruits and vegetables are still physiologically active after harvesting and during marketing and the physiological activity can continue modifying atmosphere in the packages after packaging, the optimal atmosphere composition in MAP for maintaining quality of fresh fruits and vegetables is based on not only the specific permeation properties of polymer films to O2 and CO2 but also physiological activity of packed products. In this book chapter, the latest innovations in MAP for fresh fruits and vegetables were reviewed. Results show that the optimization of MAP conditions and the development of practical MAP methods for individual produce commodities were still drawing tremendous research attentions in the last few years. Different novel food packaging technologies and materials, including antimicrobial packaging, intelligent packaging, microperforated films, and bioplastics, were also evaluated in the combination with MAP for fresh fruits and vegetables and the results were very promising. Data suggest that the development of MAP for fresh fruits and vegetables continues to be research interests in the near future. The research targets are going to determine the best MAP practices for individual fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables in different application scenarios and to improve the MAP with different new technologies and packaging materials.

Technical Abstract: Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) for fresh fruits and vegetables has been successfully used in practices for decades. However, based on the review of published studies in this area, the research on MAP for fresh fruits and vegetables was still very active in the last few years. These suggest that there are a lot of challenges and opportunities for its innovations. Identification of the best MAP practices appeared to be major focuses for individual fresh and fresh fruits and vegetables. Active MAP, including antimicrobial packaging, also drew significant attentions. New packaging materials, such as microperforated films and bioplastics, were evaluated due to market changes and needs, and studies showed very promising results. Only very limited reports were published on the intelligent MA packaging for fresh produce application.

Last Modified: 9/23/2014
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