Shelf life of fresh-cut spinach as affected by chemical treatment and type of packaging film
Brazilian Journal of Chemical Engineering
Fresh-cut vegetables are an important and rapidly developing class of convenience foods. Their storage life may be greatly reduced due to their high rates of respiration and transpiration and the possibility of enzymatic and microbiological deterioration. Consequently, the objective of this work was to determine the shelf life and the failure attribute that conditioned the shelf life of fresh-cut spinach treated with chemical solutions and packaged in bags with different permeabilities. The
... f life of fresh-cut vegetables was defined as the time of refrigerated storage at which any one of the sensory attributes scored below 7 or when the microbiological counts exceeded 5.10 7 CFU/g. Fresh-cut spinach was treated with citric acid and ascorbic acid solutions and packaged in mono-oriented polypropylene (OPP) bags or low-density polyethylene (LDPE) bags. Sensory attributes and total microbial counts were evaluated throughout refrigerated storage. Response surface methodology (RSM) was used to study the simultaneous effect of chemical treatment and refrigerated storage time on sensory and microbiological quality of fresh-cut spinach. A quadratic polynomial regression model was assumed for predicting off-odor, general appearance, wilting, browning, color, and mesophilic aerobic population. Type of packaging film only influenced development of off-odor (p≤0.001) and had no effect on visual sensory attributes or microbiological counts (p>0.05). Development of off-odor was the attribute that limited shelf life of fresh-cut spinach packaged in OPP bags. On the other hand, shelf life of samples packaged in LDPE bags was dependent on a decrease in general appearance or an increase in microbiological counts, depending on the chemical treatment used.