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Açaí handling and processing temperatures and effects on anthocyanin concentrations

Pessoa, J.D.C.
Acta horticulturae 2012 no.934 pp. 69-75
Euterpe oleracea, ambient temperature, anthocyanins, antioxidant activity, boats, fruit drinks, fruits, homogenization, ice, juices, relative humidity, shelf life, transportation
In 2004, the author accompanied an açaí fruit (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) purchasing expedition on a 15 ton boat. During the expedition, records were kept of the geographic coordinates and fruit handling procedures, and measurements were taken of the relative humidity and the temperatures of the fruits stored in the boat’s refrigerated hold and on deck. On the night of the fourth day, immediately upon the boat’s return to Belém, most of the cargo was spread onto a layer of crushed ice and covered with a plastic sheet, which was then also covered with ice. The remaining boxes were left on deck, at ambient temperature but in the shade. The round trip lasted five days and the boat transported 11.7 tons of fruits and 3 tons of ice. The temperature of the fruit and drink was also measured, and the effect of storage of the drink at -0.5C was evaluated by measurement of total anthocyanin content. The data indicated that the transportation procedure lowered the initial temperature at the center of the cargo by 9°C. The first boxes, whose temperature was 6°C when the cargo hold was opened for loading, ended the voyage at 12°C. Transportation at these temperatures affects the product’s homogeneity, process yield, and shelf life, and the anthocyanin concentration. When transformed to juice, the homogenization was the industrial process that most reduced the anthocyanin content, and hence the antioxidant capacity of açaí juice.