Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB), Potsdam, Germany
Strawberries are perishable commodities due to its high respiring and transpiring rates. Improved packaging could enable shelf-life extension of strawberries; nevertheless, water vapor evolution inside fresh produce packages often limits product´s shelf-life due to condensation. This excess water represents a threat to the product quality and safety as it stimulates growth of microbial activity resulting in reduced shelf-life. In this context, this research work targets to evaluate the performance, under fluctuating temperature, of two innovative approaches for modified atmosphere and humidity packaging (MAHP) of strawberries. The moisture regulation systems for MAHP tested were: i) the use of enhanced water vapour permeable films (NatureFlex and XTend) and ii) the use of humidity controlling cellulose pads with different amounts of fructose (0, 20, and 30%). Mass loss of strawberry, in-package condensation, water absorbed by pads, and water transmitted through packaging material were quantified after 5 d of storage under fluctuating temperature. Results showed that both strategies were effective in reducing condensation as compared to control samples. The use of NatureFlex film, however, led to higher mass loss (3.68%) as compared to other strategies (0.6-1.7%). In addition, results also evidenced how adequate temperature control plays an import role in the regulation of humidity in fresh produce packaging as it affected humidity directly.