Impact of pretreatment and freezing conditions on the microstructure of frozen carrots: Quantification and relation to texture loss
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The textural quality of carrots subjected to pretreatments affecting the pectin structure in combination with different freezing conditions was studied. Carrot samples frozen under different conditions were extensively studied by light microscopy quantifying the freezing damage based on the analysis of different parameters (number, area, perimeter, and shape factor of tissue particles) associated with carrot tissue damage. The reduced texture loss of rapidly or cryogenically frozen carrots, compared to slowly frozen samples, was associated with the reduction in cell wall damage in the carrot tissue. In case no pretreatment was used, carrot texture was only slightly improved by using high-pressure shift freezing instead of slow freezing. Detailed analysis of the different steps involved showed that severe tissue damage occurred during the completion of the high-pressure freezing process at atmospheric pressure. However, tissue damage, and thus texture loss, of high-pressure frozen carrots could be minimized by applying pretreatments consisting of a thermal treatment at 60 °C and a high-pressure treatment at 300 MPa and 60 °C.