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Microwave treatments and modified atmosphere packaging to maintain postharvest quality of Saladette tomatoes

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  131619710,  2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013. (doi: @2013
Authors:   Carmen María Notario-Medellín, María Elena Sosa-Morales
Keywords:   Tomatoes hydrothermal treatments microwaves modified atmospheres

Abstract. The effectiveness of hydrothermal treatment assisted with microwaves (MW) and modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) to maintain postharvest quality in fresh tomatoes stored at refrigerated temperature. Mature green tomatoes (Saladette variety) dipped in water were exposed to microwaves treatment at 454 W till reach a target temperature of 44.8 ± 0.6°C at the fruit geometric center followed by a holding time of 23 min. Treated tomatoes and a batch of untreated fruit (used as control) were packed in paper bags (natural atmosphere) or in plastic bags (modified atmosphere packaging) with O2 levels of 5% or 0% (vacuum). Packed fruit were stored at refrigerated temperature (4°C) for 14 days before ripening at 20°C. During storage, selected physical-chemical properties were determined in tomatoes, such as weight loss, firmness, color, pH, soluble solids, ascorbic acid content and lycopene content. Also, microbiology assays were performed in order to quantify molds and yeasts in the tomatoes peel. These tests were carried out at 0, 1, 14, 23, 32 and 41 days of storage. Hydrothermal treatment assisted with microwaves was able to reduce the growth of molds in fresh tomatoes maintaining its quality when are packed in natural atmosphere. Nevertheless, further researches are needed in order to find the appropriate conditions of modified atmosphere for packing of tomatoes, as high counts of yeast and molds were observed.

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