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Safe handling practices must be followed to minimize nutrient loss in fruits and vegetables. To evaluate such loss in tomatoes, storage and preparation practices were tested under storage at 10C and 24C (24 and 72 h), sanitization times (15, 45 and 75 min), type of cut (slices and cubes) and exposure time until consumption (0, 30 and 60 min). Ascorbic acid (AA), dehydroascorbic acid (DHA), lycopene andβ-carotene were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. Under refrigeration, AA retention was 8% higher during 24 h storage. DHA increased at room temperature and lycopene retention was lower under refrigeration temperature. No differences were verified between cutting methods and the exposure times used. Retention after the selected storage and processing conditions ranged from 78 to 86% for vitamin C, from 53 to 81% for lycopene and from 74 to 83% forβ-carotene. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

Vitamin C and carotenoids are recognized as important components of healthy diet. However, the processes to which vegetables are submitted from harvest to consumption can alter vitamin content. The adoption of safe handling practices can minimize vitamin C and carotenoids losses during preparation. When the extent of the losses is known and controlled, menus can be complemented to reach the recommended vitamin daily intake. This study investigated the influence of post harvesting handling practices (storage, sanitization, slicing and the period between cooking and consumption) to select the practices that would result in greatest vitamin C and carotenoid retention.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Food Technology Department 2: Nutrition and Health DepartmentFederal University of ViçosaAv. PH RolfsViçosa, 36571 000 Minas Gerais, Brazil

Publication date: 01 September 2010

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