Strawberry sanitization by peracetic acid washing and its effect on fruit quality
Nicolau Lapeña, Iolanda
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The risk posed by outbreaks associated with strawberries together with the safety issues of by-products from chlorine disinfection in the fruit industry has led to a search for alternative sanitizers. The disinfection capacity of peracetic acid (PA) at three concentrations (20, 40 and 80 ppm) and washing times (1 and 2 min) was compared to sodium hypochlorite (200 ppm) (NaClO) treatments and a water control, and its influence on the physico-chemical, biochemical and nutritional quality of strawberries was also studied. Counts on total aerobic mesophilic microorganisms were comparable between NaClO and PA. For yeasts and molds, only NaClO and 80 ppm PA reduced contamination in washing water, but no differences wereobserved in strawberries. Artificially inoculated L. innocua was reduced by at least 4 log cfu/g in strawberry by all the PA treatments, except at 20 ppm PA for 1 min. Total soluble solids, pH, titratable acidity, antioxidant activity and total phenolic content values were maintained after all treatments. Only anthocyanin content was affected. Treatments of 20 and 40 ppm PA did not significantly affect fruit color, and there were no losses on strawberry firmness. PA, as a GRAS substance that has shown potential to reduce microorganisms present in strawberries without any major physicochemical or sensorial alteration, could be a suitable alternative to chlorine disinfection.