Edible Coating Development for Fresh-cut Cantaloupe
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The consumption of fresh-cut fruits has been increasing in recent years due to their health benefits. Fresh-cut cantaloupe (Cucumis melo L.) represents a great snack alternative due to its low caloric content, freshness, and basic component of a healthy diet. One of the latest alternatives to reduce the decay of quality brought by minimal processing of fruits is the development of edible coatings. Acting as a barrier to moisture and gases, the coatings are expected to extend the shelf-life of fresh-cut products, thus the main objective of this research was to determine the effectiveness of an antimicrobial edible coating on the shelf-life of fresh cut cantaloupe (stored at 4 degrees C for 15 days) while maintaining its quality attributes. The effect of different coating compositions and their concentrations on a product's chemical properties and quality attributes was studied. A set of solutions containing chitosan, beta-cyclodextrin, trans-cinnamaldehyde, pectin and calcium chloride were used as coating systems for the fruit using the layer-by-layer method. Quality was measured in terms of texture, color, weight loss, moisture, acidity, and pH. In addition, a consumer sensory test was carried out to support the findings from the objective quality data. Microbiological tests were carried out to determine the effectiveness of trans-cinnamaldehyde as antimicrobial agent within the coating. Uncoated fresh-cut cantaloupe samples stored at 4 degrees C served as controls. In terms of microbiological and physicochemical quality attributes, the antimicrobial coating improved the shelf-life of fresh-cut cantaloupe (up to 12 days), compared to the controls (only 6 days). The coating composed of 2% antimicrobial, 2% chitosan and 1% pectin was the most effective in terms of consumer's acceptance (P<0.05) and shelf-life extension. The results indicated that different ratios between solutions present a variation for each specific quality attribute. The thicker the coating, the firmer the fruit and different thicknesses resulted in different amounts of antimicrobial compound in the coating, thus critically affecting the shelf-life of the product. This study demonstrates the feasibility of a new generation of edible coating for fresh-cut cantaloupe, the coating consists of using a system specially designed to allow the incorporation of natural antimicrobial agents by means of the application of microencapsulation and the layer-by-layer assembly.
Martinon Gaspar, Mauricio (2011). Edible Coating Development for Fresh-cut Cantaloupe. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from