Effects of Ozone Gas Treatments on Quality of Fruits and Vegetables

Ozone gas can be used to prevent fungal decay and rot of fruits and vegetables during cold storage [55]. Those products include bananas, citrus fruits, apples, berries, peaches, and potatoes. Ozone can also retard the ripening process of fruit and vegetables by oxidation of ethylene released during storage. Ewell [95] indicated that the shelf life of strawberries, raspberries, and grapes could be doubled when 2 to 3ppm ozone is applied continuously for a few hours per day. Barth et al. [86] reported that 0.3 ppm treatment suppressed fungal development for 12 days at 2°C, and did not cause observable injury or defects on thornless blackberries. By the 12th day, anthocyanin content and surface color were maintained; however, peroxidase activity was reduced. Norton et al. [92] found that 0.6 ppm ozone at 15°C was effective in controlling fungus rot on Early Black and Howe varieties of cranberries, but caused weight loss and quality damage by the second and third week. Perez et al. [90] also reported that ozone was ineffective in preventing fungal decay in strawberries and also was detrimental to strawberry aroma after 4-day treatment with 0.35 ppm ozone at 20° C. Another study by Kute et al. [96] evaluating ozone-treated strawberries suggested that 0.3 or 0.7 ppm ozone did not affect the ascorbic acid levels, but significantly increased total soluble solid levels after 1 week of treatment and storage. The shelf life of apples treated by 2 to 3 ppm ozone for a few hours per day could be increased by several weeks, but damage on apples was observed with 10 ppm ozone [97]. The shelf life of potatoes exposed to 3 ppm ozone could be extended to as long as 6 month at 6 to 14° C and 93 to 97% RH [98]. Liew and Prang [84] observed some physiological and quality changes in ozone-treated carrots, such as higher respiration rate, electrolyte leakage, and lower color, compared to the control samples. Skog and Chu [99] studied the effect of ozone on quality of fruit and vegetables in cold storage. They found that 0.04 ppm ozone treatment under 95 to 98% RH appears to have the potential for extending the storage life of broccoli and seedless cucumber at 3°C. Response to ozone was minimal for mushrooms stored at 4°C and cucumbers stored at 10°C. The ethylene level in vegetable storage rooms was reduced from 1.5-2 ppm to a nondetectable level after the 0.04 ppm ozone treatment. The treatment did not affect the quality of apples and pears. Artes-Hernandez et al. [100] studied the effects of ozone enriched air treatment for improving quality of seedless table grapes during cold storage at 0°C for 60 days followed by 7 days of shelf life at 15°C in air. Compared to control grapes, gas-treated samples had superior texture and visual appearance after the shelf life study.

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