Refrigerated mandarin juice was packed in four different containers, three cartons with different composition and one polyethylene terephthalate transparent bottle, and was stored at 4C for 90 days. During the storage of these juices, changes in the headspace gas composition, vitamin C, and CIE L*, a* and b* color coordinates were evaluated. In addition, a consumer panel evaluated the sensory color, fresh mandarin flavor and presence of off-flavors in the juices. Experimental data indicated that the deterioration of mandarin juices (ascorbic acid degradation and darkening of color) was triggered by the rise in oxygen in the headspace of the storage containers. The type of container played a predominant role in determining the juice quality, with carton containers with an inner layer of aluminum foil providing the juices with the best quality throughout their storage.


Results from this study will provide manufacturers of mandarin juice with information dealing with the storage and quality of juices packed in different containers. In this way, if manufacturers want to use transparent polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles showing the color and appearance of the juice, they will be aware that the shelf life of the juice will be much shorter than in packed cartons; this reduction will be from more than 90 to 36 days (PET bottle). On the other hand, if manufacturers want to use carton for their packaging, they will be aware that using a container with a thick inner layer of aluminum foil will maintain the quality of the juice for a longer time (over 90 days) compared with a shelf life of about 54 days from cartons with an inner layer of ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymers.