The purpose of the present work was to study the influence of cut (manual and using a sharp knife) and packaging film (bioriented polypropylene and polyolefin PD-961) on the sensory quality of fresh-cut butterhead lettuce stored under passive modified atmosphere at 5C. Results showed that lettuce cut by hand had a lower respiration rate and deterioration rate than those cut with a knife. This difference could be attributed to a difference in the level of wounding, which can be explained by the fact that cutting by hand caused the tear to follow the naturally weaker areas of the lettuce, leading to less tissue damage than that engendered by the use of a sharp knife.


Results suggest that lettuce leaves cut by hand showed a lower sensory deterioration rate than those cut with a sharp knife. While not industrially applicable, the cutting of lettuce by hand might be appealing to small ventures such as buffets, restaurants and catering services. The sensory analysis carried out suggests that the use of polyolefin PD-961 is preferred over bioriented polypropylene for packaging fresh-cut lettuce, in view of achieving a better quality of the produce.