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Effect of Opuntia ficus-indica Mill. mucilage edible coating on quality of fresh-cut cactus pears during cold storage

  • Autori: Liguori, G.; Greco, G.; Cannatella, R.; Gaglio, R.; Settanni, L.; Inglese, P.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2022
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Cactus pear [(Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.] consumption and marketability are limited by the presence of spines and glochids on the fruit surface. Minimally processed cactus pear fruits are characterized by a short shelf life due to the peel removing that increases tissue senescence and deterioration. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of O. ficus-indica (OFI) mucilage edible coating on quality, nutraceutical, and sensorial parameters of minimally processed cactus pear. OFI fruits were collected in mid-October and were quickly moved to the nearby laboratory. One-year-old cladodes were sanitized, sliced into squares, and cooked in a microwave oven and mixed using a homogenizer to aid the mucilage extraction and then the obtained pulp was centrifuged to separate the liquid mucilage from the solids. Cactus pear, sanitized and selected fruits, were treated with OFI mucilage (OFI-M), and the remaining fruits (OFI-C) were treated with distilled water and used as control. Soon after coating, all fruits were air- dried at room temperature, then, coated, and uncoated samples, were placed in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) retail boxes and stored at 5±0.5°C and 95% RH for 9 days. Quality, nutraceutical, microbiological and sensorial parameters of minimally processed cactus pear fruits were assessed soon after coating (0 d) and at 3, 6 and 9 days of cold storage. OFI mucilage treated fruits showed the highest values in terms of firmness, TSS, TA, ascorbic acid content and weight loss. OFI mucilage, acting as a barrier, reduced the microbial load and the decay incidence; furthermore, coated fruits got the highest scores in terms of sensory analysis and visual evaluation; the mucilage did not alter the fruits’ natural taste. These results suggested that OFI mucilage could be used to extend ready-to-eat cactus pear shelf-life and to reduce fruit quality losses during storage and marketability.