Effect of UV-C Irradiation on the Shelf-Life of Fresh-Cut Potato and Its Sensory Properties after Cooking
1Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb, Petra Kasandrića 3, 23000 Zadar, Croatia
2Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb, Pierottijeva 6, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Received: 5 February 2021
Accepted: 24 January 2022
potato cv. Birgit; firmness; CIELAB colour; sodium ascorbate treatment; vacuum packaging; principal component analysis (PCA)
Research background. Potato tissue is damaged during fresh-cut production, which makes fresh-cut potato susceptible to the quality loss and microbiological spoilage. At the same time, such products are desirable due to their convenience; however, they are extremely sensitive and have short shelf life. The main challenge of the fresh-cut potato industry is to find possibilities to overcome these drawbacks. UV-C treatment, known for its antibacterial activity, is a promising technique and it shows a potential to improve shelf life of fresh-cut potato products.
Experimental approach. The influence of the UV-C treatment on the safety and quality, as well as sensory traits of fresh-cut potato (Solanum tuberosum L. cv. Birgit) during storage was examined. For this purpose, 0-, 3-, 5- and 10-min UV-C irradiation was applied on vacuum-packed potato slices pretreated with sodium ascorbate solution. During 23 days of storage at (6±1) °C, microbiological, physicochemical and sensory properties of raw samples were monitored, along with sensory properties of boiled and fried fresh-cut potatoes.
Results and conclusions. The 5- and 10-min UV-C treatments significantly reduced microbial growth, increased total solids and lightness (L*), and positively affected odour and firmness of raw potatoes. Cooked UV-C-treated samples were described with more pronounced characteristic potato odour and taste. Overall, UV-C-treated fresh-cut potato retained its good quality and sensory traits up to 15 days at (6±1) °C.
Novelty and scientific contribution. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first scientific article dealing with the effect of UV-C light on durability (safety, quality and sensory traits) of fresh-cut potato cv. Birgit and its suitability for boiling and frying. In general, UV-C treatment is a known antimicrobial technique, but its application on fresh-cut potato is poorly explored. Results confirmed that vacuum-packed fresh-cut potato treated only with UV-C and sodium ascorbate as anti-browning agent, without the addition of chemical preservatives, had twofold longer shelf-life at (6±1) °C than the fresh-cut potato not treated with UV-C. Fresh-cut potato treated with UV-C retained good overall quality and sensory properties either raw, boiled or fried. Results of this study could also be useful for producers in terms of potential UV-C application as a strategy for prolonging the shelf-life of fresh-cut potato.