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ABSTRACT

In this study the feasibility of using lemon extract to preserve the microbial quality of fresh fruit salad is addressed. In particular, two different packaging strategies were tested: lemon extract directly dissolved into the fruit solution and lemon extract dissolved into a gelatin that was put at the bottom of the salad tray. The microbiological quality decay kinetic of the differently packed cut fruit, stored at 4C, was determined by monitoring spoilage microorganisms for about 20 days. Results show that the active gel in the packaged fruit salad does not seem to affect to a great extent the growth of the investigated microorganisms; on the contrary, the use of the active solution seems to be effective in inhibiting the growth of the natural spoilage microflora, preserving the microbial quality of the packaged product for a longer time.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

The results obtained in this research could be advantageously used by industry as a request of consumer demand for high-quality convenience food. The present research represents a starting point to develop high safety packaging systems able to prolong the shelf life of fresh cut fruit. Encouraging results on the use of natural products to control postharvest rotting indicate that it is possible to substitute the synthetic compounds with preservatives safer for man and environment.