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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Application of pulsed light and controlled atmosphere storage for extension of post-harvest quality and shelf-life of highbush blueberries (cv. Draper) Shojaei, Maryam


There has been a burgeoning interest in blueberry consumption due to its nutritional and health benefits. However, blueberries are very perishable due to their susceptibility to water loss and mould deterioration, affecting their quality and shelf-life. The objective of this study was to optimize innovative post-harvest strategies, pulsed light (PL) and controlled atmosphere storage (CAS) to improve the quality and shelf-life of highbush blueberries grown in BC. We hypothesized that the post-harvest shelf-life of highbush blueberries could be extended through using PL and CAS while both strategies meet the consumer demand for natural, and minimally processed foods. In this study, the effect of four CAS conditions (8kPa CO2 + 1.5kPa O2; 8kPa CO2 + 10kPa O2; 15kPa CO2 + 1.5kPa O2; 15kPa CO2 + 10kPa O2) and three PL treatments with doses of 3, 6, and 9 Jcm-2 were assessed using for their impact on the final quality and shelf-life of highbush blueberries (cv. Draper). In addition, the berry quality parameters (colour, firmness, weight loss, and rot incidence), antioxidant activity, pH, titratable acidity, and total soluble solids, and shelf-life were analyzed during six weeks. All CAS and PL treatments showed decreased weight loss compared to the regular atmosphere storage at the end of the storage. PL doses of 9 Jcm-2 showed less rot incidence, and PL doses of 6 Jcm-2 showed higher firmness compared to control; however, no significant difference (p < 0.05) has been observed in PL treated blueberries in all CAS in terms of firmness and rot incidence compared to control by week six. Increasing PL doses decreased antioxidant activity during storage time. Total soluble solids (TSS) and total acidity (TA) increased with increasing PL doses in the lower O2 concentration storage. Results showed that treating blueberries with PL doses of 6 and 9 Jcm-2 in CAS of 10kPa O2 and 8kPa CO2 provided the optimal conditions for maintaining the blueberries’ quality traits after four weeks. These findings can help increase the quality and shelf-life of blueberries, while minimizing their environmental impact, which could significantly impact the industry market, locally and globally.

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