OPTIMISATION OF THE POSTHARVEST CHAIN FOR WHOLE AND FRESH-CUT CAULIFLOWER
Traditional storage regimes allow preservation of cauliflower for up to one month. Extending the storage by the use of controlled atmospheres and by preparing a fresh-cut product can lead to better utilisation that can be especially useful in times of excess supply. The main quality problems occurring during cauliflower storage are: wilting, browning, yellowing of leaves, and postharvest diseases. The aim of this project was to develop the best postharvest practices possible to utilise the Calahorra cauliflower grown under Protected Geographical Indication. Firstly the cold chain from harvest till market was optimised by studying the effect of pre-cooling, storage atmospheres and active packaging of individual heads to preserve quality and reduce microbial spoilage. Secondly, the fresh-cut processing was optimised by testing different antioxidant and antimicrobial treatments and optimising the packaging method by studying films with different permeability. Moreover, the aptitude of different cultivars for modified atmosphere storage and processing for fresh-cuts was tested. Rapid pre-cooling proved to be very important to maintain quality during storage especially for the late cultivars. Controlled atmosphere storage extended storage life by slowing down leaf yellowing and reducing textural and fungal deterio-ration. Individual packaging of the curds with an active film of suitable permeability has increased the storage life of the product by reducing water loss and the magnitude of fungal rots. A film of medium-high permeability has proven to maintain the quality of the fresh-cut product the best.
Róth, E., Gómez, A., Barriobero, J., Ozcoz, B., Mir-Bel , J. and López, R. (2012). OPTIMISATION OF THE POSTHARVEST CHAIN FOR WHOLE AND FRESH-CUT CAULIFLOWER. Acta Hortic. 934, 1261-1267
cauliflower, CA storage, fresh-cut, shelf life, packaging