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Keywords:

  • antibrowning agents;
  • fresh-cut Fuji apples;
  • modified atmosphere packaging;
  • ripening;
  • shelf-life

ABSTRACT:  The effect of ripening state, modified atmosphere, and the use of antibrowning agents was investigated in an attempt to determine optimum ripeness and processing conditions for extending the shelf-life of fresh-cut Fuji apple. Apples were classified in 3 groups: mature-green, partially ripe, and ripe; after peeling and slicing, fruits were treated with 1% (w/v) N-acetylcysteine, or 1% (w/v) ascorbic acid (control), and then packed into polypropylene trays with air or a gas mixture (2.5% O2+ 7% CO2+ 90.5% N2) and sealed. Trays containing the apple slices were stored in darkness at 4 °C ± 1 °C and analyzed periodically during 43 d. Changes in atmosphere composition, color, and firmness were examined. Partially ripe apples, based on their lower ethanol production and maintenance of their original color and firmness, were the most suitable to prepare the fresh-cut commodities. A postcutting dip in 1% (w/v) N-acetylcysteine was the most effective treatment to prevent cut surface browning and preserve the initial appearance of Fuji apple slices during more than 1 mo at 4 °C. Low O2 and elevated CO2 (2.5% O2+ 7% CO2) atmosphere extended the shelf life of apple slices because of a significant inhibition of ethylene production.