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Innovative processes and technologies for modified atmosphere packaging of fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables

Wilson, Matthew Deas, Stanley, Roger A, Eyles, Alieta, Ross, Tom
Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 2019 v.59 no.3 pp. 411-422
antimicrobial properties, cell respiration, consumer acceptance, edible films, fresh-cut produce, fruits, gases, modified atmosphere packaging, raw fruit, ready-to-eat foods, shelf life, spoilage, vegetables
Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) technology has been commercially viable since the 1970s. Currently, MAP is extensively used worldwide to preserve the quality and extend the shelf-life of whole fresh fruits and vegetables, but is also increasingly used to extend the shelf-life of minimally processed fresh fruit and vegetables. This review discusses new processes and technologies that can be used to improve quality preservation and consumer acceptability of minimally processed produce where high respiration rates and challenging degradation processes operate. New packaging innovations are enabling producers and retailers to further maintain quality for longer. Innovative approaches to extend shelf-life include active MAP with differentially permeable films, films that incorporate antimicrobial properties, edible coatings that confer barriers properties, and the use of non-traditional gases to modify respiration. Intelligent packaging using integrated sensor technologies that can indicate maturity, ripeness, respiration rate and spoilage are also appearing. This review demonstrates that preservation technologies and associated packaging developments that can be combined with modified atmosphere are constantly evolving technology platforms. Adoption of combinations of technology improvements will be critical in responding to commercial trends towards more minimally processed fresh-cut and ready-to-eat fruit and vegetable products, which require specialized packaging solutions.