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Effect of Cassava Starch Coating on Quality and Shelf Life of Fresh-Cut Pineapple (Ananas Comosus L. Merril cv “Pérola”)



Abstract:  This research studied the influence of treatment with ascorbic acid, citric acid, and calcium lactate dipping and cassava starch edible coatings on quality parameters and shelf life of fresh-cut pineapple in slices during 12 d at 5 °C. After previous tests, the treatments selected for this study were samples dipped into antibrowning solution with 0.5% of ascorbic acid and 1% of citric acid, with and without 2% of calcium lactate and coated with 2% of cassava starch suspensions. Changes in weight loss, juice leakage, mechanical properties (stress at failure), color parameters (L* and H*), ascorbic acid content, sensory acceptance, and microbial growth of fruits were evaluated. Samples only treated with antibrowning agents were used as control. Edible coatings with and without calcium lactate were efficient in reducing weight loss, juice leakage, and maintaining firmness during storage. However, these samples showed more browning and the ascorbic acid content was reduced. All treatments presented good sensory acceptance (scores above 6). The determining factor of shelf life of pineapple slices was the microbial spoilage. A shelf life of 8 d was obtained for pineapple slices only treated with antibrowning agents. On the other hand, coated samples showed a reduced shelf life of 7 d and higher yeast and mold growth. Thus, although cassava starch coatings were efficient in reducing respiration rate, weight loss, and juice leakage and maintained mechanical properties, these treatments were not able to increase the shelf life of minimally processed pineapple.

Practical Application:  Pineapple fruit is highly appreciated for its aroma, flavor, and juiciness, but its immediate consumption is difficult. Therefore, pineapple is a potential fruit for minimal processing. However, shelf life of fresh-cut pineapple is very limited by changes in color, texture, appearance, off-flavors, and microbial growth. The use of edible coatings as gas and water vapor barrier and antibrowning agents can extend the storage time and maintain the quality of fresh-cut produce. Cassava starch and alginate coatings are alternative to preserve minimally processed pineapples without changing the quality parameters of fresh fruit. Thus, this study is useful for consumers and fresh-cut industry interested in knowing factors affecting shelf life and quality of fresh-cut pineapple.