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Quality and Safety of Fresh-Cut Vegetables and Fruits

Investigators
Barrett, Diane
Institutions
University of California - Davis
Start date
2011
End date
2016
Objective
My research group is addressing three of the Objectives of this project, as follows:
Objective 1. Develop, evaluate, and standardize subjective and objective quality evaluation methods in intact and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. 1. Ms. Nuun Pgamchuachit is carrying out a PhD thesis on extending the shelf-life of fresh-cut mangoes. She has conducted instrumental and sensory evaluation on a number of different mango cultivars, including Tommy Atkins, Kent and Keitt, both US grown and imported. The focus of her work will assist the mango industry with harvest timing for optimal fresh-cut quality. 2. Dr. Ana Fuentes (Visiting scholar) is carrying out a sabbatical in my lab, and evaluating the use of impedance spectroscopy for following shelf life of fresh-cut mangoes, melons and potatoes.

Objective 2. Develop new strategies to maintain fresh-cut product quality. 1. We are beginning a new PhD project that will identify the nutrient content of fresh-cut and frozen fruits and vegetables. Mr. Ali Bouzari will be working on this project over the course of the next three years. Project funding is from the American Frozen Food Institute.

Objective 3. Standardize methods for recovering pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms from intact and fresh-cut produce including tree nuts. 1. Ms. Megan Clements (PhD candidate) is working on pasteurized and unpasteurized almonds. Part of her works addresses the effects of pasteurization treatments targeting Salmonella on quality parameters.

More information
Non-Technical Summary:
Fruits and vegetables are perishable commodities with very limited shelf - life. Shelf-life extension can be achieved through improvements in postharvest handling and processing. Many growers are not aware of optimal maturity for harvesting fruits and vegetables destined to be made into fresh-cut products available in the refrigerated deli section. We are trying to determine optimum harvest maturity for various commodities, and to establish standard quantifiable methods for evaluating quality. In addition our group is developing analytical methods to tell us when tissues start to break down, so we can segregate those fruits and vegetables from the fresh and fresh-cut product lines and use them for other value-added products, such as juice, that do not depend on product integrity. Our research group focuses on improving the color, texture, flavor and nutritional quality of fresh - cut fruits and vegetables.

Approach:
Fresh-cut mango quality: Ms. Ngamchuachit is using quality descriptive analysis and consumer preference / ranking to determine the optimal harvest maturity for cutting fresh-cut mangoes.
Almond quality: Ms. Clements is using digital imaging, confocal and light microscopy to evaluate the adhesion of almond skins to their kernels.
Impedance spectroscopy: This non-destructive or minimally destructive method has the potential to provide information about structure and integrity of plant tissues at harvest and during refrigerated storage.

Progress:
2012/01 TO 2012/12
OUTPUTS: Projects funded during this period included the following: Increasing Consumption of Specialty Crops by Enhancing their Quality and Safety. Associate Specialist Dr. Hanne K. Sivertsen and Project Scientist Dr. Gordon Anthon. Funding: USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative. Effects of Production Conditions, Postharvest Pasteurization and Roasting on Almond Quality and Skin Slippage. Ph.D. candidate Megan Clements. Funding: Almond Board of California. Effect of Fruit Characteristics and Postharvest Treatments on the Textural Quality of Fresh-Cut Mangos. Ph.D. Student Panita Ngamchuachit. Funding: National Mango Board and Royal Thai Scholarship. Evaluation of New Tomato Varieties. Senior Research Associate Sam Matoba, M.S. Funding: California League of Food Processors. Extension of Appropriate Post-Harvest Technology in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Postharvest Training and Services Center (PTSC). Funding: HORT CRSP/U.S. Agency for International Development. Effects of Bruising on Processing Tomato Quality. Project Scientist Dr. Gordon Anthon. Funding: California League of Food Processors. Application of a Field Portable Infrared Sensor for the Real-Time Determination of Tomato Quality Parameters. Project Scientist Dr. Gordon Anthon, collaboration with Ohio State University. Funding: California League of Food Processors. Effects of Residual Enzymes on Quality of Stored Apple & Tomato Juices. MS Student Alison Schultz. Funding: Center for Advanced Processing and Packaging. Maximizing the Nutritional Value of Frozen Fruits & Vegetables. PhD Student Ali Bouzari. Funding: American Frozen Food Institute Research Foundation.
PARTICIPANTS: 1. Research Associate Dr. Gordon Anthon 2. PhD students: Nuun Ngamchuachit, Megan Clements, Arpassorn Sirijariyawat, Ali Bouzari, Chukwan Techakanon 3. MS Students: Ali Schultz, Matt Held 4. Dr. Diane M. Barrett 5. Faculty Collaborators: Mike McCarthy, David Slaughter, Judy Jernstedt, Beth Mitcham, Bill Ristenpart, Pieter Stroeve, Mike Delwiche.
TARGET AUDIENCES: Not relevant to this project.
PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: 1. United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association 2. Produce Marketing Association 3. Institute of Food Technologists 4. Vegetable and fruit growers, packers, shippers, processors and retailers

Impact:
Findings are shared at both scientific association meetings and in meetings with the processed fruit and vegetable industry. Cooperative Extension Short Courses were also a venue for sharing the outcome of these projects. Short courses are routinely evaluated. Programs given by Dr. Barrett in 2012 included the following: The Better Process Control School, a school authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration which covers the principles of low acid canning, is a four day program that is a priority to my industry clientele. In 2010 we launched the first of its kind on-line course for BPCS, and from October 2010 to Sept. 2011 we trained approximately 300 individuals throughout the U.S. Fresh-cut Products Workshop, a 3 day course. Instructors from the UC Davis Postharvest Technology Research & Information Center, which I am a member of, teach this course. I taught two lectures. Postharvest Short Course, a two week course. Instructors from the UC Davis Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center. Barrett taught lectures and demonstrations.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
CA-D-FST-6715-RR
Accession number
184853
Categories
Legislation and Regulations
Education and Training
Salmonella
Packaging Residues
Commodities
Produce
Nuts, Seeds