Evaluation of novel bitter cassava film for equilibrium modified atmosphere packaging of cherry tomatoes
Tumwesigye, Kashub Steven
Sousa-Gallaghera, Maria Jose
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Equilibrium modified atmosphere packaging (EMAP) technology offers the possibility to maintain produce postharvest quality and extend its shelf-life. However, EMAP stability depends on well-tuned packaging design parameters to match environmental conditions. This study defined the design requirements of a biobased film EMAP that can preserve the quality and prolong the shelf-life of fresh cherry tomatoes under recommended and simulated abuse supply chain conditions. Optimum EMAP was evaluated based on headspace gas composition at 10–20 °C, 75–95% RH and verified by determining quality changes of packed cherry tomatoes in using a continuous or micro-perforated (0.27 μm) bio-based intact bitter cassava (IBC) film. This was compared with a non-bio-based polymer film (oriented polypropylene, OPP). The IBC film attained equilibrium O2 (2–3%) after 180 h at 10 °C, with 0 and 1 perforation, for 75 and 95% RH while OPP film maintained a downward O2 fall. Continuous and micro-perforated IBC film did not show any major differences in equilibrium headspace O2, thus perforation can be neglected. Based on desirability optimisation results, biobased IBC film demonstrated a better optimized EMAP system in attaining recommended gas and stretching cherry tomato shelf-life as compared to non-biobased (OPP) film. The application of bio-based IBC film offers new possibilities in packaging fresh produce under an equilibrium modified atmosphere without compromising its quality.