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Irradiation preserves blueberry, grape quality

Phytosanitary treatment maintains fruit quality for long-distance transportation, distribution, storage

Date:
January 5, 2016
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
Scientists monitored the effects of irradiation on the quality of three varieties of blueberries and two varieties of grapes treated at phytosanitary dose levels. Results showed that blueberries and grapes have a high tolerance for phytosanitary irradiation and that storage affects quality more than irradiation. Firmness was the primary attribute affected by irradiation for both varieties of grapes. Sensory tests showed that consumers did not have a preference for control or irradiated fruit.
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It is often necessary to treat produce for insects in order to transport crops out of quarantine areas. Fumigation with methyl bromide, one of the most common treatments, is in the process of being phased out because of its depleting effect on the ozone layer. Alternately, ionizing irradiation at low doses is being used worldwide as a promising phytosanitary treatment for fruit such as guava, rambutan, and mango. New research reveals that irradiation can also be effective for treating blueberries and grapes for export without compromising fruit quality.

'Star', 'Jewel', and 'Snowchaser' blueberries and 'Sugraone' and 'Crimson Seedless' grapes were irradiated at a target dose of 400 Gy (range of 400-590 Gy for blueberries and 400-500 Gy for grapes) and stored for 3 and 18 days under refrigeration, plus 3 days at ambient temperatures. "This experiment was designed to simulate the time of ground transport (from California) to Mexico and sea transport from California to Asia," the scientists explained. The fruit was then evaluated for soluble solids concentration, titratable acidity, and weight loss. With respect to these quality attributes, the results showed differences among fruit varieties, but the researchers found treatment effects to be "not significant."

The study also involved sensory tests in which consumers evaluated the fruit on appearance, flavor, texture, and overall "liking." "Firmness was the primary attribute affected by irradiation for both varieties of grapes, but sensory testing showed that consumers did not have a preference for control or irradiated fruit," the authors said. "However, sensory scores for flavor were higher for the irradiated berries than the control berries after storage, suggesting a decline in quality of the control blueberries with time," the scientists noted.

The authors said the research showed that (in terms of quality) irradiation at 400 Gy can maintain blueberry and table grape quality sufficiently to meet transportation, distribution, and storage needs for overseas markets. "Our results show that both blueberries and grapes have a high tolerance for phytosanitary irradiation and that storage affects their quality more than irradiation treatment," they concluded.


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jonathan Tong, Cyril Rakovski, Anuradha Prakash. Phytosanitary Irradiation Preserves the Quality of Fresh Blueberries and Grapes during Storage. HortScience, November 2015

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Irradiation preserves blueberry, grape quality: Phytosanitary treatment maintains fruit quality for long-distance transportation, distribution, storage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 January 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160105132729.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2016, January 5). Irradiation preserves blueberry, grape quality: Phytosanitary treatment maintains fruit quality for long-distance transportation, distribution, storage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 24, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160105132729.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Irradiation preserves blueberry, grape quality: Phytosanitary treatment maintains fruit quality for long-distance transportation, distribution, storage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160105132729.htm (accessed August 24, 2016).

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