<OL> <LI> Develop, evaluate, and standardize subjective and objective quality evaluation methods in intact and fresh-cut vegetables and fruits. <LI>Develop new strategies to maintain fresh-cut product quality. <LI>Improve understanding of biochemical, physiological and molecular mechanisms that affect fresh-cut product quality. <LI>Evaluate and control unintentional and intentional microbial contamination of intact and fresh-cut produce.
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Contamination of fresh-cut vegetables and fruits is a significant source of food borne illness, especially recently. The purpose of this project is to evaluate new methods and materials to reduce contamination in fresh-cut produce.
APPROACH: We will evaluate various antimicrobial washing methods (ozone, peroxyacetic acid, chlorine, etc.) with various gas mixtures used in fresh-cut packaging (nitrogen/CO2 variables), with various packaging films that result in enhanced product safety and greatest potential shelf life, for various types of fresh-cut vegetables.