Microwaves for mild postharvest fruit treatment

M. Fiore, N. Di Modugno, C. Bruno, T. De Nicolo, M. Fioretti
Mild postharvest treatments, including microwave (MW) and pulsed electric fields (PEF), are increasingly required to meet high demand of shelf-stable fresh fruit worldwide and to produce fruit extracts of high quality without using chemical additives. An innovative microwave treatment, based on highly accurate state-of-the-art solid-state technology, has been applied to fresh cherries in an experimentation work performed at FraVa Srl, Rutigliano, Italy. A specific set of radiation parameters (i.e. frequency, power, waveform, treatment time) were analyzed in order to minimize the presence of spoilage microorganisms while preserving the organoleptic properties of the product. The treatment has been modeled considering the Maxwell equations for the electromagnetic pattern and Lambert's law for the thermal profile dynamics of the treated cherries. Also, the dependency of the dielectric properties from moisture and temperature have been considered for the process assessment. Encouraging results have shown reduction of microbial charge and minimum impact over texture and color characteristics of the product. The research work also gave a useful indication of the most suitable radiation parameters among different combinations tested. The overall effect of the microwave treatment is a significant shelf-life extension of the fresh product aimed at long-haul export targets.
Fiore, M., Di Modugno, N., Bruno, C., De Nicolo, T. and Fioretti, M. (2021). Microwaves for mild postharvest fruit treatment. Acta Hortic. 1311, 403-410
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1311.51
solid-state, disinfection, pulsed, enhancement, shelf-life, physical

Acta Horticulturae