Elena Collado1, Francisco Artés-Hernández1,2, Laura Navarro1, Francisco Artés1,2, Encarna Aguayo1,2, Juan Fernández1,3 and Perla A. Gómez1*1 Institute of Plant Biotechnology. Technical University of Cartagena. Campus Muralla del Mar. 30202. Cartagena, Murcia, Spain.2 Postharvest and Refrigeration Group. Department of Food Engineering. Technical University of Cartagena. Paseo Alfonso XIII, 48. 30203. Cartagena, Murcia, Spain.3 Department of Horticulture. Technical University of Cartagena. P. Alfonso XIII, 48, 30203. Cartagena, Murcia, Spain.
Peas (Pisum sativum L. var. saccharatum) are an important source of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Pods are harvested before physiological maturity and stored at temperatures near 0 degrees C. Due to their very high respiration rate, and even when classified as non-climacteric product, loss of quality is fast. Most studies conducted on fresh peas have dealt with the fresh pod but very little information is available on the optimum storage conditions of immature pea seeds, which are well adapted to be prepared as a minimally processed product. The effects of passive modified atmosphere packaging and sanitation with chlorine (100 ppm, pH 6.5) or alternatively with acidified sodium chlorite (300 ppm, pH 1.8) on overall quality of fresh pea seeds (var. ‘Lincoln’) were assessed during shelf life at 1 and 4 degrees C. After 12 d atmospheres within packages were 8 kPa CO2/12 kPa O2 and 11 kPa CO2/10 kPa O2 at 1 and 4 degrees C respectively. Spoilage microbial growth (mesophilic, enterobacteria, psychrotrophic and yeast and mould) were around 2 log CFU g-1 and 3 log CFU g-1 at 1 degree C and 4 degrees C respectively. However, enterobacteria growth was drastically reduced at 1 degree C independently of the disinfectant used. Colour, firmness and sensory quality were acceptable, with best quality at 1 degree C. Low temperature storage allowed obtaining a high quality product after 12 d, being acidified sodium chlorite a good alternative to chlorine. However, more research is needed to study its effects in other quality parameters.