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Keywords:

  • anthocyanin content;
  • minimal processing;
  • modified atmosphere packaging;
  • polyphenols;
  • pomegranate;
  • ready-to-eat;
  • shelf life;
  • total antioxidant activity

ABSTRACT:  Minimally processed ready-to-eat pomegranate arils have become popular due to their convenience, high value, unique sensory characteristics, and health benefits. The objective of this study was to monitor quality parameters and to extend the shelf life of ready-to-eat pomegranate arils packaged with modified atmospheres. Minimally processed pomegranate arils were packed in PP trays sealed with BOPP film under 4 atmospheres including low and super atmospheric oxygen. Packaged arils were stored at 5 °C for 18 d and monitored for internal atmosphere and quality attributes. Atmosphere equilibrium was reached for all MAP applications except for high oxygen. As a general trend, slight or no significant change was detected in chemical and physical attributes of pomegranate arils during cold storage. The aerobic mesophilic bacteria were in the range of 2.30 to 4.51 log CFU/g at the end of the storage, which did not affect the sensory quality. Overall, the pomegranate arils packed with air, nitrogen, and enriched oxygen kept quality attributes and were acceptable to sensory panelists on day 18; however, marketability period was limited to 15 d for the low oxygen atmosphere. PP trays sealed with BOPP film combined with either passive or active modified atmospheres and storage at 5 °C provided commercially acceptable arils for 18 d with high quality and convenience.