Development of a fresh-cut product based on pears and the subsequent evaluation of its shelf life under commercial conditions and after a cold chain break
Colás Medà, Pilar
Altisent Rosell, Rosa
Alegre Vilas, Isabel
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Processing of pears as a fresh-cut product could offer added value and introduce a product into the market that offers greater convenience and health benefits for consumers. Cultivar selection is one of the most important considerations for fresh-cut fruit processing because characteristics such as
flesh texture, skin colour, and browning potential can vary greatly among cultivars. Four pear cultivars (‘Flor de invierno’, ‘Passe-Crassane’, ‘Ercolini’ and ‘Conference’) and four antioxidant treatments, that is, (NS) 50 g L-1 NatureSeal® AS1 (Agricoat) solution, (AsAc) 20 g L-1 ascorbic acid + 10 g L-1 citric acid + 10 g L-1 calcium chloride solution, (CaAs) 20 g L-1 calcium ascorbate + 10 g L-1 calcium chloride solution and (NaAs) 20 g L-1 sodium ascorbate + 10 g L-1 calcium chloride solution, were tested to obtain a high-quality fresh-cut pear. For the selected cultivar and treatment, the nutritional changes and physicochemical, microbial and sensorial quality were evaluated under conditions that simulated commercial application followed by storage at 4 °C and a simulated cold chain break at 8°C. The ‘Conference’ pear was selected as the best cultivar based on its physicochemical characteristics (high levels of soluble solids content and low acidity), low increase in browning index, and visual acceptance after 7 days of storage. The results demonstrated that CaAs maintained the fresh-cut pear quality after 8 days of storage at 4°C and also after a cold chain break. Furthermore, application of the selected treatment produced an increase in the ascorbic acid content, total phenolic content and antioxidant activity of minimally processed pear samples. These values were reduced during shelf life, but the total phenolic content at the final sampling point was higher than that of fresh-cut pears after processing without treatment.