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Effect of Nitrogen Gas Packaging on the Quality and Microbial Growth of Fresh-Cut Vegetables under Low Temperatures

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Abstract:

Nitrogen (N2) gas packaging for fresh-cut vegetables (lettuce and cabbage) has been examined as a means of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) for extending the shelf life of cut vegetables. Gas composition in enclosed packages that contained cut vegetables and were filled with 100% N2 had an oxygen (O2) concentration of 1.2 to 5.0% and a carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration of 0.5 to 3.5% after 5 days of storage. An atmosphere of low concentrations of O2 and high CO2 conditions occurred naturally in the package filled with N2 gas. Degradation of cut vegetables in terms of appearance was delayed by N2 gas packaging. Because of this effect, the appearance of fresh-cut vegetables packaged with N2 gas remained acceptable at temperatures below 5°C after 5 days. Treatment with acidic electrolyzed water (AcEW) contributed to the acceptability of the vegetables' appearance at 5 and 10°C in the air-packaging system. N2 gas packaging did not significantly affect the growth of microbial populations (total aerobic bacteria, coliform bacteria, Bacillus cereus, and psychrotrophic bacteria) in or on cut vegetables at 1, 5, and 10°C for 5 days. Microbial growth in or on the cut vegetables was inhibited at 1°C for 5 days regardless of atmospheric conditions.

Keywords:

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Kita 9, Nishi 9, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-8589, Japan

Publication date: 2002-02-01

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