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Makgafele Lucia Ntsoane

Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bio-economy (ATB), Potsdam, Germany

Application of simplex lattice mixture design to optimise O2 and CO2 concentrations for shelf life extension of fruits

Exposure to gas combinations below or above the tolerance limit of fresh produce may result in subsequent undesirable changes in fresh produce quality and shortened shelf life. Therefore, experimental design and gas mixture selection are important in the development of an optimal produce-specific O2 and CO2 concentrations for use in packaging or storage of fresh produce. Therefore, in the present study simplex lattice mixture design approach was adopted to optimise O2 and CO2 concentrations for storage of fruits in order to obtain the maximum shelf life on the basis of selected quality attributes and sensory evaluation. Fruits were stored under different proportion of: CO2 (2–18%), O2 (2–18%) and N2 (80–96%) to evaluate the potential impact of each gas component. The interaction effects of O2, CO2 and N2 gas composition were successfully characterised by the estimated model parameter coefficients of linear, binary and ternary (?1, ?2, ?3, ?12, ?13, ?23 and ?123) and ternary contour plots. The selected quality attributes experimental data was fitted well using a special cubic model in terms of estimated model parameter coefficients, resulting with good regression coefficient. The reduction in CO2 and O2 concentrations-maintained chlorophyll content, thus delaying fruit ripening. The optimum storage conditions for ‘Shelly’ mango fruit ranged between 5-8% O2 + 5-9% CO2 + 86-91% N2. These results present good perspectives for application of simplex lattice mixture design for optimisation of controlled atmosphere storage to maintain the selected quality attributes and prolong shelf life of fruits

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