Shelf-life of minimally processed cabbage treated with neutral electrolysed oxidising water and stored under equilibrium modified atmosphere.Int J Food Microbiol. 2007 Jun 10; 117(1):91-8.IJ
Minimally processed vegetables (MPV) have a short shelf-life. Neutral electrolysed oxidising water (NEW) is a novel decontamination method. The objective of this study was to test the potential of NEW to extend the shelf-life of a MPV, namely shredded cabbage. Samples of shredded cabbage were immersed in NEW containing 40 mg/L of free chlorine or tap water (control) up to 5 min, and then stored under equilibrium modified atmosphere at 4 degrees C and 7 degrees C. Proliferation of aerobic mesophilic bacteria, psychrotrophic bacteria, lactic acid bacteria and yeasts were studied during the shelf-life. Also pH and sensorial quality of the samples as well as O(2) and CO(2) composition of the headspace of the bags was evaluated. From the microbial groups, only psychrotrophic counts decreased significantly (P<0.05) due to the effect of NEW, but the counts in treated samples and controls were similar after 3 days of storage at 4 degrees C and 7 degrees C. Packaging configurations kept O(2) concentration around 5% and prevented CO(2) accumulation. pH increased from 6.1-6.2 to 6.4 during the shelf-life. No microbial parameter reached unacceptable counts after 14 days at 4 degrees C and 8 days of storage at 7 degrees C. The shelf-life of controls stored at 4 degrees C was limited to 9 days by overall visual quality (OVQ), while samples treated with NEW remained acceptable during the 14 days of the experiment. The shelf-life of controls stored at 7 degrees C was limited to 6 days by OVQ and browning, while that of samples treated with NEW were limited to 9 days by OVQ, browning and dryness. According to these results, a shelf-life extension of at least 5 days and 3 days in samples stored respectively at 4 degrees C and 7 degrees C can be achieved by treating shredded cabbage with NEW. NEW seems to be a promising method to prolong the shelf-life of MPV.