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Flavour loss during postharvest handling and marketing of fresh-cut produce

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Purpose of review: Loss of flavour of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables following postharvest handling, storage and marketing results in consumer dissatisfaction and often precedes the loss of visual quality. In order to maximise product flavour, causes of its loss must be identified and prevented. Therefore, this review assesses mechanisms and factors that affect flavour loss in fresh-cut produce

Findings: Flavour loss of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables can be attributed to metabolic changes of flavour compounds and diffusional loss of volatile compounds. The contribution of each of these mechanisms has not been clearly defined in any fresh-cut commodity. Fresh-cut processing stimulates flavour loss by removing natural diffusion barriers and altering normal metabolism. Packaging can alter metabolism of flavour compounds by altering atmosphere composition, which can inhibit flavour compound synthesis or induce the production of off-flavours. Polymer films used in packaging or edible coatings can also inhibit diffusional loss of volatile flavour compounds by serving as a barrier to prevent or stimulate loss by scalping compounds from the package atmosphere. Various postharvest chemical and physical treatments used to prevent browning, reduce microbial growth and maintain product quality may affect product flavour.

Directions for future research: The contribution of metabolic and diffusional processes in determining flavour change of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables during postharvest handling and marketing needs to be determined for fresh products. Determination of the significance of these processes and how packaging and postharvest treatments can affect them could lead to new technologies to preserve flavour quality in fresh-cut produce.
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Document Type: Research Article

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