Alternative Sanitizers to Chlorine for Use on Fresh-Cut “Galia” (Cucumis melo var. catalupensis) Melon



ABSTRACT:  Chlorine is commonly used to reduce microbial load in fresh-cut vegetables. However, the production of chlorinated organic compounds, such as trihalomethanes, which are potential carcinogens, has created the need to investigate the efficiency of nontraditional sanitizers and alternative techniques. The effects of 4 novel sanitizers were tested in fresh-cut “Galia” melon: chlorine dioxide (ClO2) at 3 mg/L, peracetic acid (PAA) at 80 mg/L, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) at 50 mg/L, and nisin at 250 mg/L plus EDTA 100 mg/L (nisin + EDTA). A chlorine treatment (NaOCl at 150 mg/L) was used as a control. Pieces of melon were packed in polypropylene trays under passive modified atmosphere (3 to 4 kPa of O2 and 10 to 11 kPa of CO2) and stored up to 10 d at 5 °C. Microbial growth, firmness, respiration rate, gas composition, sensory evaluation, color, total soluble solids (TSS), and tritable acidity (TA) were evaluated at days 0, 7, and 10. The novel sanitizers PAA, H2O2, and nisin + EDTA, in the studied concentrations, reduced the microbial growth to a more efficient range than chlorine and ClO2. In addition, those sanitizers delayed softness, did not affect the respiration rate, SST, or AT. The sensorial parameters were kept above the upper limit of marketability and they did not impart an “off flavor.” These sanitizers maintained quality and shelf life of fresh-cut Galia melon for 10 d of storage at 5 °C. Nevertheless, other concentrations, in particular for ClO2, could be tested to study an extended shelf life in melon pieces.