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Keywords:

  • essential oils;
  • fresh-cut produce;
  • natural antimicrobial-flavoring agents

ABSTRACT:  Microbial and aroma attributes are within the most decisive factors limiting safety and sensory appealing of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. Alternatively, several plant essential oils (EOs) are constituted of several volatile active compounds and most of them present antimicrobial potential and had different aroma profile. Considering these premises, this hypothesis article states that safety and aroma appealing of fresh-cut produce could be improved with EO treatment. EOs could prevent fresh-cut fruit decay; however, their volatile constituents could be sorbed by the produce, and according to the aroma notes of the antimicrobial oil, sensorial appealing of odor, and flavor of the treated produce might be affected positively or negatively. Specifically, garlic oil is a natural antimicrobial constituted by sulfur compounds, which are responsible for its odor and antimicrobial properties. Besides, fresh-cut tomato is a highly perishable product that needs antimicrobial agents to preserve its quality and safety for a longer period of time. From the sensorial point of view, aroma combination of garlic and tomato is a common seasoning practice in Europe and America and well accepted by consumers. Once the right combination of flavors between the EOs and the fresh-cut produce has been selected, safety and quality of the treated fruit could be improved by adding antimicrobial protection and extra aroma. Therefore, other combinations between EOs and fresh-cut produce are discussed. This approximation could reinforce the trends of natural food preservation, accomplishing the demands of the increasing sector of consumers demanding tasty and convenient fresh-cut produce, containing only natural ingredients.