Effect of Osmotic Dehydration and Pectin Edible Coatings on Quality and Shelf Life of Fresh-Cut Melon
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The aim of this work was to investigate the influence of osmotic dehydration and pectin edible coating on quality parameters of fresh-cut melon. Fruits were osmodehydrated in 40°Bx sucrose solution containing 0.5% calcium lactate or dipped in 0.5% calcium lactate solutions. Then, samples were coated with 1% pectin. Melon pieces dipped in sanitizing solution (nontreated sample) were used as control. Weight loss, respiration rate, firmness, color parameters (lightness, chroma, and whiteness index), sensory acceptance, microbial growth, and structural changes of fruits were evaluated during storage at 5 °C for 14 days. The shelf life of the control sample was limited to 9 days due to microbial growth and sensory rejection, while treated samples showed a shelf life of 14 days. Higher preservation of firmness in coated samples was attributed to the action of calcium salt on melon structure, causing a strengthening of the cell wall. Calcium lactate also inhibited microbial growth along storage, improving microbiological stability of fresh-cut melon. The use of calcium lactate dips and pectin edible coatings hindered weight loss and maintained fruit color characteristics during the storage time. However, these pretreatments probably masked melon taste, reducing the sensory acceptance scores at the end of shelf life study. The combination of osmotic dehydration and pectin coatings was a good preservation alternative for fresh-cut melon, since it improved fruit sensory acceptance, promoting the reduction of product respiration rate, as well as the maintenance of quality parameters during 14 days.
KeywordsMelon Calcium lactate Polysaccharide-based coatings Shelf life Quality Osmotic dehydration
The authors would like to thank CNPq (301761/2004-3) and FAPESP (2006/03263-9, 2009/51420-4) for the financial support.
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