Effect of Decontamination Treatment on Vitamin C and Potassium Attributes of Fresh-Cut Bell Pepper at Post-Washing Stage
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To investigate the effect of decontamination treatment on the nutritional attributes of fresh-cut produce, fresh-cut slices of immature bell peppers were soaked in sodium hypochlorite solutions or slightly acidic electrolyzed water with varying concentrations of effective free chlorine. Changes in the residual ratios of the water-soluble nutrients, vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid, L-AsA) and potassium, were measured, as well as aerobic plate counts (APCs), after decontamination. The L-AsA ratios of the samples that were decontaminated with the sodium hypochlorite solutions exhibited a gradual decrease when higher concentrations of detergent and longer soaking times were employed. In contrast, the potassium ratio remained mostly constant around 50% after 1 min of soaking. A decrease in the L-AsA ratio to 80% was observed within 5 min of a soak in deionized water (a 0 ppm solution). Soakings in the slightly acidic electrolyzed water also resulted in a decrease in L-AsA ratios, yet the trend was not similar to that associated with the sodium hypochlorite solutions. These results indicate that water-soluble nutrient contents of fresh-cut produce decrease during a decontamination process that uses chlorine-based solutions according to the free chlorine concentration and the soaking time. Moreover, the reduction in nutrient content varied depending on the disinfectant used, even if the free chlorine concentration was the same for the different disinfectants.
KeywordsDecontamination Fresh-cut Vegetable Fruit Nutrient Quality
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