Influence of edible coating on postharvest physiology ana quality of honeydew melon fruit (Cucumis melo L. inodorus)
Several techniques have been developed to preserve the quality of horticultural products throughout the supply chain. Edible coatings represent a promising technology as they can improve quality and extend shelf life of fruit and vegetables by changing gases and moisture permeabilties, enhancing fruit appearance, and reducing microbial contamination.The aim of this work was to assess the effectiveness of two kinds of novel coatings on the shelf life extension of Honeydew winter melons during retail. Sixty melons were used: 24 were uncoated as control; 18 were treated with a cellulose polymer coating (F1) and 18 with a synthetic polymer (F2) coating. Upon arrival, and after 6, 9 and 13 days at 13°C, six melons/treatment were individually analyzed for internal O2, ethylene and ethane concentrations, fermentative metabolites, quality parameters, and aroma pattern. Already after six days, internal O2 levels in coated fruit fell to ~1% in F1 and ~3% in F2 melons, triggering fermentative pathways as shown by the increased productions, mainly in F1 fruit, of acetaldehyde, ethanol, ethyl acetate, and ethane. This pattern caused changes in the responses of electronic nose sensors which were able to distinguish the three treatments. Coating did not influence fruit firmness and internal ethylene concentration. F1 coating reduced soluble solids content, strongly enhanced skin glossiness, and delayed yellowing, but it was not able to prevent moisture losses. In contrast, F2 coating significantly reduced weight loss and showed a slight positive effect on fruit appearance.
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