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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: Electrostatic spraying of antimicrobial coating to improve strawberry quality

Authors
item Peretto, Greta -
item Du, Wen-Xian
item Avena Bustillos, Roberto
item McHugh, Tara
item Sambo, Paolo -

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 19, 2014
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: The increasing consumer demand for fresh, safe, and high-quality strawberry fruits has lately gained interest on the development of new post-harvest methods to prolong their shelf-life and, at the same time, ensure safety and maintain nutritional and sensory quality. Strawberries are perishable fruits characterized by a short shelf-life mainly due to their high respiration rate and microbial contamination, therefore the application of antimicrobial edible coatings could represent a valid post-harvest tool to extend the shelf-life and enhance the overall quality. This work aimed to use electrostatic spraying technology as a novel method for the post-harvest application of alginate antimicrobial coating on strawberries. Carvacrol (major component of essential oils from oregano) and methyl cinnamate (methyl ester of cinnamic acid) were added into alginate coating formulation at 0.98% (w/w) and 1.46% (w/w) concentrations respectively, due to their powerful antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Additionally, methyl cinnamate as being one of the major volatile components of strawberry aroma has a desirable natural strong fruity aroma. The effects of electrostatic alginate coating on quality-related attributes of strawberry such as weight loss, visible decay, firmness, surface color, total soluble phenolic content and antioxidant capacity were evaluated during 13 days of storage at 7.5 °C. The higher functionality of electrostatic spray coating in terms of transfer efficiency and evenness led to a significant (p = 0.05) delay and reduction of visible decay compared to not-coated fruits (four days) and those coated with conventional spray method (one day). Firmness and color retention of strawberries were also improved using electrostatic spray coating. Therefore, electrostatic spray could be used to improve the distribution and application of liquid antimicrobial coatings which exert beneficial effect on postharvest quality of perishable fruits. It may also reduce the waste of coating material and provide greater operation efficiency.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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