Jorge M. Fonseca1, James
W. Rushing*2, and Robert F. Testin3.
1Clemson University, Horticulture Department, Clemson, SC 29634;
2Clemson University, Coastal Research and Education Center (REC), Charleston, SC 29414;
3Clemson University, Packaging Science Department, Clemson, SC 29634.
Fresh-cut watermelon cubes stored at selected temperatures within the
range of 1.1 to 14.5o C had decreasing quality shelf life corresponding
with increasing temperature. At lower temperatures there was a random
occurrence of chilling injury symptoms in some cubes that was associated
with the section of watermelon from which the cubes were cut. Cubes
removed from the top side of the intact watermelon fruit were more susceptible
to chilling injury than cubes from other sectors of the fruit. Sanitizing
cubes with chlorine (40 ul/l) or ozone (0.04 ul/l) solutions caused an
initial reduction in microbial count but during storage the effect diminished
and became insignificant compared to controls. Overall quality was
lower in cubes receiving aqueous sanitizing treatments, possibly due to
mechanical injury occurring during centrifugation to remove excess solution.
Overall quality of cubes exposed to UV light (ca. 250 nm for 1-5 min) was
better than cubes receiving aqueous sanitizing treatment. The effectiveness
of UV treatment in reducing microbial load was dependent on the amount
of cube surface exposed to the light. The results emphasize the importance
of preventing microbial contamination during processing of fresh-cut watermelon.
CATEGORY: Postharvest/Plant Biotechnology