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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: New Sustainable Processing Technologies to Produce Healthy, Value-Added Foods from Specialty Crops and their Co-Products

Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

Title: Increasing strawberry shelf-life with carvacrol and methyl cinnamate antimicrobial vapors released from edible films

Authors
item Peretto, Greta -
item Du, Wen-Xian
item Avena Bustillos, Roberto
item Sarreal, Siov
item Hua, Sui Sheng
item Sambo, Paolo -
item McHugh, Tara

Submitted to: Postharvest Biology and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 9, 2013
Publication Date: November 30, 2013
Repository URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.postharvbio.2013.11.003
Citation: Peretto, G., Du, W., Avena Bustillos, R.D., Sarreal, S.L., Hua, S.T., Sambo, P., Mchugh, T.H. 2013. Increasing strawberry shelf-life with carvacrol and methyl cinnamate antimicrobial vapors released from edible films. Postharvest Biology and Technology. DOI: 10.1016/j.postharvbio.2013.11.003.

Interpretive Summary: To improve the shelf life of strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa), two plant natural volatile compounds, carvacrol and methyl cinnamate were incorporated into strawberry puree edible films (SPEF). The effect of these two antimicrobial compounds released as vapors from SPEF on strawberry shelf life and quality-related attributes were investigated. The findings of the current study demonstrated that fruit-based edible films constitute a promising approach for the controlled release of volatile active compounds in the package atmosphere surrounding the fruits. Shelf life and quality of strawberries were improved due to the high bioactivity of the natural compounds in the vapor phase surrounding the fruits.

Technical Abstract: Shelf life of strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) is limited by decay due to microbial growth that negatively impacts their color, texture, and weight. Plant natural volatile compounds, such as terpenoids and esters, have been reported to have antimicrobial properties. The effect of carvacrol (C) and methyl cinnamate (MC) released as vapors from strawberry puree edible films (SPEF) on strawberry shelf life and quality-related attributes were investigated. Carvacrol, main volatile compound of oregano, and methyl cinnamate, methyl ester of cinnamic acid, formulated in film-forming solutions at 0.75% (w/w) concentrations were chosen because of their antibacterial and antifungal properties. Additionally, MC has a desirable natural strong fruity and strawberry-like aroma. SPEF were used as carriers for the controlled release of C and MC antimicrobial vapors, without direct contact with the food product. Fruit quality was evaluated by weight loss, visible decay, firmness, surface color, total soluble solids, total soluble phenolic content, and antioxidant capacity. Results obtained from 10 days of storage at 10 °C and 80 - 90% relative humidity showed that mold growth in vapor-treated strawberries was delayed for up to three days and the severity of decay was significantly (p = 0.05) reduced during the storage period. In addition, strawberries treated with C and MC maintained better flesh firmness and brightness as compare to the control. Treatments with the natural compounds also increased the total soluble phenolic content and antioxidant activity of strawberries at the end of the storage period. The findings of the current study demonstrated that fruit-based edible films constitute a promising approach for the controlled release of volatile active compounds in the package atmosphere surrounding the fruits. Shelf life and quality of strawberries were improved due to the high bioactivity of the natural compounds in the vapor phase surrounding the fruits.

Last Modified: 4/19/2014
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