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Combined Post-harvest Treatments for Improving Quality and Extending Shelf-Life of Minimally Processed Broccoli Florets (Brassica oleracea var. italica)

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Broccoli is an important source of many nutritional and bioactive compounds. However, its shelf-life is very short due to physicochemical losses and microbiological degradation. This study was undertaken to implement treatments that could improve the quality of ready-to-eat (RTE) broccoli during storage by evaluating the effect of pre-treatment with calcium chloride (CaCl2) and alginate coating on the physicochemical and microbial properties of RTE broccoli. Broccoli florets were pre-treated with three different concentrations of CaCl2 (1, 2.5, and 4 g L−1), then coated with an alginate formulation (13 g L−1) and stored at 4 °C for 24 days. Texture, color, weight loss, respiration rate, and total mesophilic flora (TMF) counts were evaluated at days 0, 3, 7, 14, and 24 of storage. The obtained results in this study showed that combining pre-treatment with calcium and alginate coating led to reducing the weight loss and respiration rate of broccoli, maintaining its color and texture as well as extending its shelf-life by 6 days. These results not only allowed reducing post-harvest losses resulting in the loss of the product but also have a major impact on the environment and resources involved in the production process.

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The authors would like to thank Winpak Division Ltd. for providing the packaging materials. Finally, authors acknowledge the review from Dr. Behnoush Maherani (INRS) before submitting the manuscript.


This research was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and by Bonduelle North America and the Consortium de Recherche et Innovations en Bioprocédés Industriels au Québec (CRIBIQ).

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Correspondence to Monique Lacroix.

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Ben-Fadhel, Y., Ziane, N., Salmieri, S. et al. Combined Post-harvest Treatments for Improving Quality and Extending Shelf-Life of Minimally Processed Broccoli Florets (Brassica oleracea var. italica). Food Bioprocess Technol 11, 84–95 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11947-017-1992-2

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  • Minimally processed broccoli florets
  • Edible coating
  • Calcium chloride pre-treatment
  • Post-harvest treatments
  • Shelf-life