Effects of ClO2 Gas Treatment on Quality of Produce

Effects of ClO2 gas treatments on quality of produce have not been extensively studied. However, some researchers have shown minimal quality effects on several types of produce, including green peppers [37], apples [40,41,43], cantaloupes [42], strawberries [38], and potatoes [39]. Han et al. reported [37,38] that no aerobic microorganisms (aerobic plate count, APC) were detected after treatment of strawberries with 3.0mg/l ClO2 gas for 10 minutes followed by a 1-week storage period at 4°C and after treatment of green peppers with 0.6mg/l ClO2 gas for 10 minutes followed by a 4-week storage period. Additionally, the color of both strawberry and green pepper surfaces did not change significantly (p>0.05) during the storage period after ClO2 gas treatments.

Residues of ClO2 and chlorite on strawberries treated with 3 mg/l ClO2 gas for 10 minutes were 0.19 ± 0.33 mg ClO2/kg and 1.17 ± 2.02mg Cl2/kg; while after 1 week of storage no ClO2 residues were detected, and residual chlorite levels were reduced to 0.07 ± 0.12 mg Cl2/kg. Residues of ClO2 and chlorite on peppers were 0.13 ± 0.05 mg ClO2/kg and 0.39 ± 0.49 mg Cl2/kg after treatment with 0.6 mg/l ClO2 gas for 10 minutes and 0.02 ± 0.04 mg ClO2/kg and 0 ± 0 mg Cl2/kg after a 4-week further storage of treated products. No significant color changes (p>0.05) were observed after 5.5mg/l ClO2 gas treatment for both strawberries and green peppers. Tsai et al. [39] found that, after treating potatoes with vaporized ClO2 by purging air through 100 ppm ClO2 solution for 1 hour, the residuals of chlorite and chlorate were less than 0.07 ppm, measured using ion chromatography. Additionally, no significant color changes (p>0.05) were observed on cantaloupes after 5.5 mg/l ClO2 gas treatment [42] and on apples after 7.8 mg/l ClO2 gas treatment for 30 minutes [41]. However, Sapers et al. [43] observed darkening of lenticels on apples when treated with 0.3 mg/l ClO2 gas for 20 hours. Discoloration (bleaching effect) of lettuce [49] and green cap on strawberries [38] was observed. It appears that ClO2 gas treatment may have a negative effect on the color of leafy vegetables. However, more studies evaluating the effects of ClO2 treatments on leafy vegetables are needed.

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