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Edible coatings as carriers of food additives on fresh-cut fruits and vegetables

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Purpose of review: This article reviews the incorporation of food additives into edible coatings for preserving and extending the shelf life of fresh cut fruits and vegetables.

Findings: During minimal processing operations such as peeling, cutting, shredding, coring, etc, the integrity of fruit and vegetable tissues is altered. Cell wall breakdown after mechanical operations induces in the plant tissues degenerative physiology and biochemi cal changes such as enzymatic browning, texture softening, water loss, and production of undesirable flavours and odours due to mi crobial growth. Therefore, the control of these deleterious effects is critical to maintaining the quality and safety of fresh cut fruits and vegetables. A promising alternative to dipping treatments is the application of food additives such as antioxidant, antimicrobial and antisoftening agents, in addition to nutraceutical substances that can be effectively incorporated into edible coatings based on protein, lipid or polysaccharides matrices. Studies have demonstrated that these coatings, which support additives and bioactive compounds, can enhance, maintain and prolong fresh cut product quality and safety.

Limitations/implications: Some food additives have a significant impact on the sensory attributes (taste, aroma and colour) of fresh cut fruits and vegetables when effective concentrations are incorporated into edible coatings.

Directions for future research: Further research should be focused on a commercial scale, since most studies on food applications have been conducted at the laboratory scale. More studies are necessary to understand the interactions among food additives and coat ing materials when new edible coatings are used, in addition to its effect on sensory attributes.
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Document Type: Research Article

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