- Most sweet cherries produced in the US Pacific Northwest and shipped to distant markets are
often in storage and transit for over 3 weeks. The objectives of this research were to study the
effects of sweet cherry storage O2 and CO2 concentrations on the respiratory physiology and the
efficacy of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) on extending shelf life. Oxygen depletion
and CO2 formation by ‘Bing’ and ‘Sweetheart’ cherry fruit were measured. While respiration
rate was inhibited linearly by reduced O2 concentration from 21% to 3-4% at 20 °C, it was
affected very little from 21% to ~10% but declined logarithmically from ~10% to ~1% at 0 °C.
Estimated fermentation induction points determined by a specific increased respiratory quotient
were less than 1% and 3-4% O2 for both cultivars at 0 and 20 °C, respectively. ‘Bing’ and
‘Sweetheart’ cherry fruit were packaged (~8 kg/box) in 5 different commercial MAP box liners
and a standard macro-perforated polyethylene box liner (as control) and stored at 0 °C for 6
weeks. MAP liners that equilibrated with atmospheres of 1.8-8.0% O2 + 7.3-10.3% CO2 reduced
fruit respiration rate, maintained higher titratable acidity (TA) and flavor compared to control
fruit after 4 and 6 weeks of cold storage. In contrast, MAP liners that equilibrated with
atmospheres of 9.9-14.4% O2 + 5.7-12.9% CO2 had little effect on inhibiting respiration rate and
TA loss and maintaining flavor during cold storage. All five MAP liners maintained higher fruit
firmness (FF) compared to control fruit after 6 weeks of cold storage. In conclusion, storage
atmospheres of 1.8-14.4% O2 + 5.7-12.9% CO2 generated by commercial MAP, maintained
higher FF, but only the MAP with lower O2 permeability (i.e., equilibrated at 1.8-8.0% O2)
maintained flavor of sweet cherries compared to the standard macro-perforated liners at 0 °C.
MAP with appropriate gas permeability (i.e., equilibrated at 5-8% O2 at 0 °C) may be suitable for
commercial application to maintain flavor without damaging the fruit through fermentation, even if temperature fluctuations, common in commercial storage and shipping, do occur.
- Wang, Y., & Long, L. E. (2014). Respiration and quality responses of sweet cherry to different atmospheres during cold storage and shipping. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 92, 62-69. doi:10.1016/j.postharvbio.2014.01.003
|Funding Statement (additional comments about funding)
- We are grateful to the Oregon Sweet Cherry Commission for their financial support ofthis research.
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