Effects of long-term controlled atmosphere storage, minimal processing, and packaging on quality attributes of calçots (Allium cepa L.)
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Calçots are the immature floral stems of the second-year onion (Allium cepa L.) resprouts. Modified atmosphere packaging or vacuum packaging are suitable alternatives to preserve fresh-cut vegetables. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of postharvest storage time of raw vegetable stored under controlled atmosphere and used packaging system after minimal processing on the quality of fresh-cut calçots. Calçots used for minimal processing were stored under 1.0 kPa O2 + 2.0 kPa CO2 at 1 ℃ for 30 and 60 days. Fresh-cut calçots were packaged using passive modified atmosphere packaging or vacuum packaging and were stored at 4 ℃ for 15 days. Calçots stored under controlled atmosphere for 30 days presented better retention of quality and in turn, being more suitable for minimally processing. Vacuum packaging preserved the physicochemical quality of fresh-cut calçots better after 15 days. Mesophilic aerobic counts were also higher in fresh-cut calçots stored under modified atmosphere packaging, but all counts were below the recommended limits during and at the end of their shelf-life (15 days). The most suitable conservation strategy might be to store whole calçots under controlled atmosphere for 30 days and after minimally processing, packaged under vacuum in order to extend the shelf-life of fresh-cut calçots.