Modified atmosphere affected marketability of peeled cactus pear
Cactus pear (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill., 'Gialla') is a delicious and nourishing fresh fruit having a number of documented positive health effects. One of the reasons this fruit is not widely commercialized in international and domestic markets is because of the presence of residual glochids (thorny hairs) on the fruit surface. Marketing cactus pear as a ready to eat product may significantly improve its consumption, preserving its quality, safety and marketability. In this work green-yellow cactus pear fruits were peeled and stored for 13 days at 4 and 8°C, packaged in passive and in active modified atmosphere. Samples stored in air were used as control. The passive modified atmosphere improved the marketability of cactus pears stored at 8°C for 6 days. The rapid decrease in O2 and the increase in CO2 concentration in packages stored at 8°C caused the loss of marketability of fruits stored at high temperature. Samples stored at 4°C in passive and active modified atmosphere resulted in a marketablility of 9 days, since each one in air was just below the salable limit at 6 days. A very low initial microbial growth was detected, while an increase in mesophilic and psychrophilic bacteria during storage at both temperatures was found in the air samples. In conclusion, it was found that it is possible to store fresh-cut cactus pear, obtaining a marketability of 9 days at 4°C; while, when the temperature is higher than 4°C, it is not possible to preserve the fruit quality for more than 6 days.
Cefola, M., Renna, M., Baruzzi, F., Achille, V. and Pace, B. (2018). Modified atmosphere affected marketability of peeled cactus pear. Acta Hortic. 1209, 315-320
Opuntia ficus-indica, microbial growth, ready-to-use, cold storage