Storage studies of tomato and bell pepper using eco-friendly films



Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) and bell pepper (Capsicum annuum), packaged in cartons (approximately 0.35 kg per box) covered with either eco-friendly chitosan film or synthetic petroleum-based low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film, were stored at room temperature (27 ± 1 °C) and 65 ± 3% relative humidity (RH). Fruits were withdrawn periodically and changes in physico-chemical, instrumental and sensory characteristics were analysed. During storage, oxygen levels showed only marginal changes, while CO2 levels showed a gradual increase, especially so in LDPE film-covered cartons. The fresh weight loss, colour, firmness, formation of defective spots and shrivelling showed greater changes for unpackaged fruits as well as for those in LDPE film-covered cartons, in comparison with fruits stored in chitosan film-covered cartons, which retained many of the desirable attributes. Principle component analysis of data from sensory or instrumental sensory analyses indicated segregation of samples stored under different conditions with respect to both desirable and undesirable attributes. The fruits showed greater deterioration, including the loss of characteristic bell pepper odour, when packaged in cartons covered with LDPE films, while those packaged in chitosan film retained more of the desirable quality attributes for a longer period. Copyright © 2006 Society of Chemical Industry