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Losses of vitamin C from fresh strawberries in a commercial supply chain

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Fresh strawberries were evaluated through a commercial supply chain, from harvest to immediately prior to retail display. These samples were compared with controls that were refrigerated immediately after harvest and kept at a constant temperature for the same period of time. Temperature data were collected throughout all stages of the supply chain. Moisture and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) contents were determined at selected points of the supply chain using recognised methodology. Significant differences were found in the vitamin C concentrations of fresh strawberries at various stages of the supply chain but not in their moisture content. The ascorbic acid concentration decreased with time spent in the supply chain in all trials but the absolute vitamin C content differed from trial to trial. This result indicates that both pre- and post-harvest factors influence the vitamin C content of fresh strawberries available to consumers on the retail market.
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Keywords: Cold chain; distribution; moisture; strawberries; supply chain; temperature; transportation; vitamin C

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Universit√© de Moncton, Moncton, NB E1A3E9, Canada 2:  Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre, Kentville, NS B4N1J5, Canada

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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