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Merete Edelenbos

The potential use of natural antimicrobial compounds to reduce decay of strawberries in the supply chain

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Strawberries are very perishable fruits with a short shelf-life due to their susceptibility to mechanical injury, desiccation, physiological disorders, and decay. Spoilage develops at higher temperatures especially if soft berries are packaged wet or in film that creates high humidity inside the package. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential use of D-limonene as a natural antimicrobial compound to reduce decay of packaged, wet, field-grown strawberries after harvest. Strawberries were packaged dry in molded fibre cardboard trays at harvest and kept without wrapping (control) or wrapped in film (dry wrapped) or dipped in water, packaged in cardboard trays and wrapped in film (wet wrapped) or dipped in a 0.02% D-limonene, packaged in cardboard trays and wrapped in film (limonene) and stored for 2 days at 5 or 12°C and then transferred to room temperature for 8 h (+8 h) to simulate retail conditions. Control berries shriveled and lost around 3.5% of the initial weight during 2 days (+8 h) storage at 5 and 12°C. In contrast, the wrapped berries lost 0.7% of the initial weight regardless of storage temperature and pre-treatment. Dry, wrapped berries maintained visual quality during 2 days (+8 h) storage at 5 and 12°C as berries maintained firmness, glossiness and green colour of the calyx. Wet, wrapped strawberries, however, lost their quality during storage as grey mold developed on the wet surfaces. Pre-treatment with D-limonene before packaging reduced the incidence of grey mold on the berries. The results show that D-limonene has a potential as an antimicrobial compound when field-grown strawberries are packaged wet before handling in the supply chain.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Horticulturae
Pages (from-to)93-98
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 International Society for Horticultural Science. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • Grey mold, Limonene, Shelf-life, Strawberry, Wetness

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