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Keywords:

  • antioxidant;
  • ascorbic acid;
  • irradiation;
  • sensory evaluation;
  • spinach

Abstract:  The use of ionizing radiation to enhance microbial safety of fresh spinach at a maximum dose of 4 kGy has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, whether spinach can tolerate those high doses of radiation is unclear. Therefore, this study was conducted to investigate the effects of irradiation and storage on quality, liking, and purchase intent of fresh-cut spinach. The oxygen radical absorbance capacity values and total phenolic content were not consistently affected by irradiation. However, the ascorbic acid content of irradiated sample decreased rapidly during storage, resulting in these samples being lower in ascorbic acid content than controls after 7 and 14 d of storage at 4 °C. Sensory evaluation by a 50-member panel revealed that purchase intent and ratings for liking of appearance, aroma, texture, flavor, and overall were not affected by irradiation at doses up to 2 kGy. Therefore, irradiation at doses up to 2 kGy may be used to enhance microbial safety without affecting consumer acceptance or overall antioxidant values of irradiated spinach.