Eating quality and health-promoting properties of two sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) cultivars stored in passive modified atmosphere
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Two sweet cherry cultivars ('New Star' and 'Sweet Heart') were chosen to explore the impact of passive modified atmosphere packaging on the eating quality and health-promoting properties of fruit. Packaged and unpackaged fruits were stored at 0 C for 15 or 30 days, followed by zero or three days at 20 C, after which the analyses were undertaken. In most cases, modified atmosphere packaging helped preserving higher firmness values and reducing the incidence of alterations and decay in both cultivars, but the effects on other physicochemical attributes were different for each cultivar. Partial least squares regression procedures were used to reveal relationships among the different variables assessed. Generally, fruits displaying higher antioxidant capacity were also characterised by higher values for firmness and titratable acidity, in turn related to better acceptability scores in both cultivars. However, the attributes contributing most to acceptability were different in each case. In 'New Star' fruit, acceptability was closely related to the perception of cherry flavour. In this cultivar, acetaldehyde content was related to the perception of off-flavours, while ethanol content was found to associate to soluble solids and to the perception of sweetness. In contrast, acceptability of 'Sweet Heart' fruit was related mainly to the perception of firmness and, to a lower extent, of sweetness.