Abstract: Minimally processed kale leaves were packed in passive modified atmosphere and stored at 3 conditions: 1 °C in the dark and 11 °C with or without light exposure. The products were evaluated during storage in terms of headspace gas composition, sensory attributes, flavonol, and carotenoid contents. The sensory quality decreased slightly during 17 d at 1 °C in the dark. At 11 °C, the vegetable shelf life was predicted to be 6 d in the dark and 3 d with light. Quercetin and kaempferol were stable during storage for 15 d at 1 °C in the absence of light. At 11 °C in the dark, quercetin was stable during 10 d, increasing slightly on the 8th day. Kaempferol decreased up to the 5th day but increased on the 8th day, decreasing again on the 10th day. After 5 d at 11 °C under light, the flavonol levels were significantly higher than those of the initial values. Neoxanthin and violaxanthin did not change significantly after 15 d at 1 °C in the dark. Lutein and β-carotene, however, decreased 7.1% and 11.3%, respectively. At 11 °C in the dark, neoxanthin, violaxanthin, lutein, and β-carotene decreased 16.1%, 13.2%, 24.1%, and 23.7% after 10 d, respectively. At 11 °C under light, neoxanthin and lutein had a slight increase while violaxanthin and β-carotene decreased 23.1% and 16.5% after 5 d.
Practical Application: Passive modified atmosphere packaging together with refrigeration can extend the shelf life of minimally processed kale, retaining the health-promoting compounds, flavonols and carotenoids. Quercetin, kaempferol, neoxanthin, and violaxanthin are stable and lutein and β-carotene slightly reduced.