Several factors including pH, cultivar, extraction method, metal ion content and storage conditions affect the rate of ascorbic acid loss in refrigerated fruit juices. While oxygen permeation rate and product de-aeration also influence ascorbic acid loss, little comparative data on these two variables exist despite the potential usefulness of such data in optimizing the packaging of juice. De-aerated and non-de-aerated single-strength orange juices were packaged and stored at 7°C in experimental glass containers constructed with oxygen permeability rates of 0·35, 0·39, 0·43, 0·79, 1·18 and 1·60 ml/day/container at 7°C. The rate of ascorbic acid degradation inversely correlated with permeation rate for both de-aerated and non-de-aerated juices regardless of initial dissolved oxygen content. Degradation was best described by zero-order and first-order kinetics for de-aerated and non-de-aerated juices, respectively. Headspace volume had no effect on ascorbic acid loss in both de-aerated and non-de-aerated juices when nitrogen flushed. Juice in high oxygen permeability containers showed a faster decrease in ascorbic acid content, independent of initial dissolved oxygen content. These results indicate that both package barrier properties and de-aeration are major factors in maintaining ascorbic acid in refrigerated orange juice. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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