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Recent developments in the use of modified atmosphere packaging for fresh-cut fruits and vegetables

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Purpose of review: This review discusses the recent advances in the use of innovative modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) systems to maintain freshness of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.

Findings: MAP conditions for fresh-cut fruits and vegetables are being largely explored in order to achieve fresh-like quality products with high nutritional quality. The use of high O2 concentrations (≥ 60 kPa) as an alternative to conventional low O2 active modified atmosphere (MA) cannot provide flavour and nutritional advantages over existing packaging systems. On the other hand, the application of edible coatings in MAP systems as carriers for active compounds is being studied to improve safety, freshness, appearance and nutritional quality of fresh-cut commodities. Interest has also increased notably in the possible use of plant essential oils in MAP systems to enhance safety of fresh-cut produce in response to the consumer awareness in reducing or eliminating chemically synthesised additives in foods.

Directions for future research: Methods to rapidly achieve optimal atmosphere conditions and development of dynamic packages should be optimised. The mechanisms and factors that affect flavour loss in MAP systems need to be further studied. The development of appropriate modelling simulations to predict quality changes would be also a significant advance. In addition, systems to deliver active compounds are one of the promising areas in order to create active MA, which may improve flavour, nutritional and functional quality of fresh-cut products.
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Document Type: Research Article

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