Abstract: Ultraviolet radiation induced degradation of ascorbic acid in a model apple juice system and in apple juice was studied using a collimated beam batch UV reactor. In the model system, ascorbic acid degradation was more rapid at higher dose levels and the reaction accelerated with increasing exposure time. Ascorbic acid degradation significantly (P < 0.05) increased as the pH was raised from 2.4 to 5.5, although no difference was observed between 2.4 and 3.3. Increasing malic acid concentration between 0.1 and 1%, increased ascorbic acid degradation (P < 0.05) although there was no difference between 0.5 and 1.0%. Solution absorbance, varied by addition of tannic acid, decreased ascorbic acid degradation with increasing concentration due to absorption of UV radiation. Fructose at levels found in apple juice significantly increased ascorbic acid degradation while glucose and sucrose did not. Factors identified that accelerate ascorbic acid degradation may at least partially explain why ascorbic acid degradation occurred more rapidly in UV-treated apple juice than in the 0.5% malic acid model system. Ascorbic acid degradation continued after UV treatments during dark storage. Storage decreases were faster at higher initial UV dose levels and higher storage temperature.
Practical Application: The present study shows the effect of UV processing on ascorbic acid, a key vitamin found in many fruit juices. Process developers and researchers can use this study as a model for designing experiments to identify factors that influence the stability of vitamin C and other bioactive compounds during UV processing.