The effect of ozone and UV-C irradiation on strawberry postharvest quality

M. Gumede, A. Mditshwa, S.Z. Tesfay, L.S. Magwaza, N.C. Mbili
Strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa Duchense) are globally among the most important fruits. The fruit is an important source of nutrients and bioactive compounds including vitamins, phenolics, antioxidants and dietary fiber. However, strawberries rapidly lose quality during postharvest and their short shelf-life is a serious challenge to face producers and consumers. Chemical treatments have previously been used to maintain quality and extend the shelf-life of strawberries. However, health implications associated with postharvest use of chemicals on food products have necessitated research on non-chemical postharvest treatments. Gaseous ozone and UV-C irradiation are some of non-chemical technologies that have shown potential in prolonging the shelf-life of various fruits and vegetables. This study investigated the effect of gaseous ozone and UV-C irradiation in maintaining the quality and extending the shelf-life of strawberries. Briefly, strawberries harvested at fully ripe stage were irradiated at 0 or 208.2 µW cm‑2 while the other fruit lot was exposed to continuous ozone treatment. All the fruit was stored at 5.8°C for 7 days and thereafter followed by shelf-life of 2 days at 25°C. After storage, fruit mass loss, decay incidence, antioxidant capacity and soluble sugars were measured. Fruit exposed to UV-C and continuous ozone had significantly lower decay incidence compared to the untreated fruit. Moreover, fruit mass loss was much lower in fruit stored in ozonated atmospheres compared to the UV-C and control treatment. Antioxidant capacity was significantly higher in ozone and UV-C treated fruit. This study has shown the potential of gaseous ozone and UV-C irradiation as non-chemical postharvest treatment for strawberries.
Gumede, M., Mditshwa, A., Tesfay, S.Z., Magwaza, L.S. and Mbili, N.C. (2020). The effect of ozone and UV-C irradiation on strawberry postharvest quality. Acta Hortic. 1275, 15-22
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1275.3
strawberry, postharvest, ozone, UV-C irradiation, antioxidant capacity, shelf-life

Acta Horticulturae