University of California

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Quality Changes of Fresh-cut Figs in Relation to Ripeness Stage, Temperature and Controlled Atmospheres

Gyunghoon Hong (Dept. Plant Sciences, UC Davis, Davis, CA 95616), Carlos Crisosto (Dept. Plant Sciences, UC Davis, Davis, CA 95616), and Marita Cantwell (Dept. Plant Sciences, UC Davis, Davis, CA 95616)

The performance of fresh-cut figs was evaluated for 2 cultivars at 2 stages of ripeness (commercial and full ripe). Texture, but not external color, was a consistent indicator of ripeness. Fresh-cut figs (maroon-skin Brown Turkey and yellow-green skin Sierra cultivars) were prepared from sanitized fruit, halved with a stainless steel knife, and stored in plastic clamshells in air at 0 or 5 degrees C or controlled atmospheres (3%O2 + 6, 12 or 18%CO2) at 5 degrees C. Cut pieces retained excellent quality for 6 days under all conditions. After 9 and 12 days, best quality was obtained in air at 0 degrees C and in CA at 5 degrees C with 12 or 18%CO2, but these atmospheres resulted in increased ethanol and acetaldehyde concentrations. Sugars decreased in ‘Brown Turkey’ but not in ‘Sierra’ fruit and were different between ripeness stages. Respiration of fresh-cut figs was similar to that of intact fruits (4-7 and 8-10 µL CO2/g-h at 0 and 5 degrees C, respectively). Ethylene production was similar between ripeness stages, but different between cultivars. Loss of visual quality was not associated with discoloration but with microbial growth on the cut surfaces similar to that on the external surface of intact fruits. This was due mostly to molds and CO2 atmospheres retarded fungal growth. Temperature control was much more important than controlled atmospheres for fresh-cut fig shelf-life. Shelf-life was little affected by ripeness stage but full ripe fruit had higher sugar content. Figs performed well as fresh-cut products and could add flavor and diversity to cut fruit trays.

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