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The inhibition of yeast spoilage of blueberries during modified atmosphere packaging storage Day, Ngoc Bich


Modified atmosphere packaging storage combines an atmosphere of higher carbon dioxide and lower oxygen levels than air, with chilling temperatures to extend shelf-life of fresh fruits. In three modified atmosphere packaging storage trials, blueberries were packaged in film bags with different gas permeabilities, and stored at about 4°C. Storage of blueberries in packages of a film with intermediate gas permeability produced an aerobic atmosphere and a relatively low carbon dioxide level, resulting in rapid growth of yeast and molds on blueberries. Packaging blueberries in a film with very low gas permeability created a high carbon dioxide almost anaerobic atmosphere, which successfully inhibited yeast and mold growth on blueberries for up to eight weeks. The possibility of yeast inhibition by antifungal compounds accumulated in blueberries stored under modified atmosphere packaging conditions was investigated by using the disk diffusion assay. The results of these assays showed the absence of antifungal activity against two Rhodotorula species, a Zygosaccharomyces species, a Cryptococcus species, a Debaryomyces species, and indicated that the inhibition of yeast growth was due to low temperature, high carbon dioxide level and anaerobic conditions. The effects of temperature and atmosphere composition were investigated by using natural flora of blueberry juice and two yeast isolates grown in sterilized juice. At 21°C, yeast growth was slow in the presence of carbon dioxide and absence of oxygen. At low temperature, yeast growth was slow in the presence of oxygen, but was inhibited in the anaerobic, high carbon dioxide environment. It is proposed that the micro-aerobic environment of modified atmosphere packaging storage might have allowed slow desaturation of yeast membrane fatty acids which enabled yeasts to maintain membrane fluidity and function at low .temperature. Furthermore, yeast growth during storage of modified atmosphere packaged blueberries may be affected by low temperature and high carbon dioxide conditions.

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