Processing and handling of fresh-cut tropical fruits
Consumer demand for healthful and convenient food began to merge with advances in industrial processing and handling of fresh-cut fruit. The needs for tropical fruits such as durian, jackfruit and pineapple to be marketed in fresh-cut/ready-to-eat forms is greater compared with temperate fruits because of their large size, high price, particularly early in the season, risk of obtaining poor-quality pulp, difficulty in peeling/cutting and weight problems during transportation. Fresh-cut processing allows cut pieces to be carefully examined right to the centre of the fruit. Thus it can be used to mitigate the need for quarantine treatment to enhance market access. The disruption of tissues and cell integrity during fresh-cut processing often increases respiration rate, ethylene synthesis, enzymatic browning and development of physiological disorders, which, associated with increases in rates of other biochemical reactions, are responsible for changes in colour, flavour, texture, and nutritional quality (sugar, acid, and vitamin contents). The damaged plant tissues also provide a nourishing medium for microbial growth. In view of the above, the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) has undertaken intensive research in developing suitable fresh-cut processing techniques to cater to the needs of both local and export markets. Due to the inherent nature of tropical fruits (especially the skin and size), suitable mechanization inputs have also been developed to facilitate and speed up processing. New approaches in evaluating suitable postharvest treatments and improving packing systems and storage requirements became a main focus of the research and development activities. Pretreatments to reduce microbial spoilage, excessive tissue softening and tissue browning are needed to improve the quality of fresh-cut pineapple. Modified atmosphere packaging by using seal or shrink wrapping has been shown to be effective for retail packing systems. Temperature abuse occurs during distribution and display, and some microorganisms of concern may grow at low temperatures and in modified atmospheres. Because of these potential hazards, the microbiological quality and safety of fresh-cut fruits is of great concern. An effective sanitation program and strict adherence to good personal and process hygiene need to be employed during handling and market distribution to ensure safe and quality products are delivered to consumers. The beneficial outputs of the new approaches were observed during commercial trials of selected tropical fruits in Hong Kong (2008 and 2014), Singapore (2009), Dubai (2010), Perth (2011) and Sydney (2013).
Latifah, M.N., Ab Aziz, I., Ruwaida, Ab.W., Nur Azlin, G., Siti Aisyah, A., Joanna, C.L.Y., Nur Shafini, G., Fauziah, M., Zaulia, O. and Razali, M. (2016). Processing and handling of fresh-cut tropical fruits. Acta Hortic. 1141, 91-102
mechanization, MAP, pre-treatments, quality, safety, pineapple, durian, jackfruit