Natural antimicrobial agents incorporated in active packaging to preserve the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables

J. Fernando Ayala-Zavala, Lizzete Del Toro-Sánchez, Emilio Alvarez-Parrilla, Herlinda Soto-Valdez, Olga Martín-Belloso, Saúl Ruiz-Cruz, Gustavo A. González-Aguilar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose of review: This review focuses on the practical use of natural antimicrobial agents incorporated in active packaging delivery systems to preserve the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables. Main findings: Considerable postharvest losses of fresh fruits and vegetables are caused by microbial plant pathogens. As an alternative to synthetic preservatives, natural antimicrobial agents have attracted the attention of modern consumers and the fresh produce industry. The antimicrobial power of natural compounds is due to the ability of these compounds to interfere with the metabolism of microorganisms in the same way that synthetic preservatives do. This reactivity also affects the fruit system or the package and a high concentration has to be applied to compensate for the inactivation of antimicrobials. However, extra addition or a wrong combination of flavours can affect the sensory appeal of fresh fruits and vegetables. As a solution natural antimicrobials can be integrated into the packaging system from where low levels can be continuously emitted to the food during its postharvest life (active packaging), solving the extra addition problem and achieving consumer acceptability. Directions for future research: The use of active packaging to deliver antioxidant compounds that enhance the antioxidant capacity of fresh fruits and vegetables is a promising area of research. The design of intelligent packaging systems that indicate microbial load, pathogen presence and antioxidant levels of packaged fresh fruits or vegetables should also be studied in detail.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9
JournalStewart Postharvest Review
Volume4
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Active packaging
  • Fresh produce quality
  • Natural antimicrobials

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