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Evaluation of different postharvest conditions to preserve the amount of bioactive compounds, physicochemical quality parameters and sensory attributes of 'Sweetheart' cherries

Gonzalez-Gomez, D., Bernalte, M. J., Ayuso, M. C., Fernandez-Leon, M. F., Lozano, M., Rato, A. E., Palma, V., Santos, A. C.
Acta horticulturae 2017 no.1161 pp. 581-586
Prunus avium, active ingredients, anthocyanins, bags, bioactive compounds, carbon dioxide, cherries, color, consumer acceptance, cultivars, experimental design, firmness, fruits, health promotion, orchards, oxygen, packaging, phenolic acids, postharvest treatment, sensory properties, storage time, temperature, titratable acidity, total soluble solids, Portugal, United Kingdom
Sweet cherries (Prunus avium L.) are among the most valued seasonal fruit, 'Sweetheart' being one of the most representative cultivars. The high consumer acceptance of sweet cherries could be attributed to different factors, as an adequate ratio between soluble solid contents (SSC) and titratable acidity (TA), skin colour, as well as the relevant nutritious properties and the important amount of health-promoting compounds, mostly due to the presence of considerable quantity of phenolic and anthocyanin pigments. This research aims to evaluate different postharvest treatments in order to establish the most appropriate storage conditions to preserve the overall quality of 'Sweetheart' cherries: external attributes of fruit (mainly color and firmness), chemical parameters (SSC and TA) and the maintenance of concentration of functional compounds (anthocyanin, phenolic acids and flavonoids contents). Fruit was harvested at commercial maturation, from an orchard in S. Julião region (Alentejo, Portugal). Cold conditions (CC) and modified atmosphere (MAP) samples were carefully accommodated in 1-kg plastic boxes. Samples for MAP treatment were packed in micro-perforated bags of Pplus® (Sidlaw Packaging, Bristol, UK). Fruits were kept in different storage conditions: cold conditions CC (1°C, 95% RH); modified atmosphere MAP (1°C, 95% RH with PPlus bags); controlled atmosphere CA (1°C, 95% RH, 10% CO2 and 8% O2). The experimental design was a factorial: storage method (CC, MAP, and CA) and storage period (0, 6, 13, 20 and 27 days). Fruits from day 0, considered without storage, were kept at 20°C and analyzed after temperature stabilization. Every sampling day, 90 fruits of each treatment, were randomly picked up and submitted to several analyses. According to our results, the MAPs storage conditions were the most appropriate conditions to maintain and increase the concentration of these determined bioactive compounds.