Main content area

Modelling of Vitamin C Degradation during Thermal and High-Pressure Treatments of Red Fruit

Verbeyst, Lise, Bogaerts, Ragne, Van der Plancken, Iesel, Hendrickx, Marc, Van Loey, Ann
Food and bioprocess technology 2013 v.6 no.4 pp. 1015-1023
antioxidant activity, ascorbic acid, biosynthesis, dehydroascorbic acid, enzymes, food processing, fruits, high pressure treatment, humans, mechanistic models, oxidation, pasteurization, raspberries, strawberries, temperature, thermal degradation
Vitamin C is known for its potent antioxidant properties. Since humans lack one of the final enzymes in the biosynthesis of this vitamin, they are dependent on dietary sources for their vitamin C needs. Strawberries are good sources of vitamin C, but the vitamin is unstable during food processing, and high temperatures have shown to induce rapid degradation. As an alternative preservation technique, high-pressure processing is investigated for its potential to achieve pasteurisation and sterilisation conditions at lower process temperatures and shorter treatment times compared to thermal processing. The objective of the present study was to examine quantitatively the effect of processing on vitamin C in strawberry and raspberry matrices by comparing thermal treatments (80–140 °C) to treatments at 700 MPa (60 °C, 90 °C and 110 °C). To this end, a mechanistic model was proposed and tested to fit the degradation of ascorbic acid (AA) and the consecutive formation and degradation of dehydroascorbic acid (DHAA). AA degradation followed a biphasic course: the aerobic reaction was fast and most important, while the anaerobic reaction was slow and only perceptible at temperatures of 120 °C and up. The oxidation of AA to DHAA was slower than the subsequent degradation of DHAA in the strawberry matrix; the opposite was true in the raspberry matrix. Both temperature and pressure enhanced the degradation of vitamin C. The proposed mechanistic model provided reasonably good fits to the experimental data, only to a lesser extent for the DHAA evolution during high-pressure processing.