Research – Increasing the Safety and Storage of Pre-Packed Fresh-Cut Fruits and Vegetables by Supercritical CO2 Process



This work presents a feasibility lab-scale study for a new preservation method to inactivate microorganisms and increase the shelf life of pre-packed fresh-cut products. Experiments were conducted on coriander leaves and fresh-cut carrots and coconut.
The technology used the combination of hydrostatic pressure (<15 MPa), low temperature (≤45 °C), and CO2 modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). The inactivation was achieved for the naturally present microorganisms (total mesophilic bacteria, yeasts and molds, total coliforms) and inoculated E. coli. Yeasts and molds and coliform were under the detection limit in all the treated samples, while mesophiles were strongly reduced, but below the detection limit only in carrots.
Inoculated E. coli strains were completely inactivated (>6.0 log CFU/g) on coconut, while a reduction >4.0 log CFU/g was achieved for carrots and coriander. For all the treated products, the texture was similar to the fresh ones, while a small alteration of colour was detected. Microbiological stability was achieved for up to 14 days for both fresh-cut carrots and coconut.
Overall, the results are promising for the development of a new mild and innovative food preservation technique for fresh food.

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