Influence of continuous exposure to gaseous ozone on the quality of red bell peppers, cucumbers and zucchini

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Glowacz, Marcin ; Colgan, Richard ; Rees, Deborah (2015)

The effect of continuous exposure to ozone on quality changes during the storage of red bell peppers, cucumbers and zucchini was investigated. Peppers were stored at 14 °C and were exposed to ozone at 0.1 and 0.3 μmol mol−1, while cucumbers and zucchini were stored at 12 and 8 °C, respectively, and exposed to ozone at 0.1 μmol mol−1. The content of fructose (2.75 g/100 g FW) and glucose (2.00 g/100 g FW) in red bell peppers exposed to ozone at 0.1 μmol mol−1 was increased by 8 and 7%, respectively, when compared to controls. Continuous exposure to ozone at 0.3 μmol mol−1, on the other hand, had no effect on fructose (2.52 g/100 g FW) and glucose (1.88 g/100 g FW) content. The content of vitamin C was significantly enhanced in red bell peppers exposed to ozone at 0.1 and 0.3 μmol mol−1 after 7 d of storage, however, this effect was not maintained. After 14 d, vitamin C content in peppers exposed to ozone at 0.1 μmol mol−1 was not significantly different from the control, whereas it was reduced at 0.3 μmol mol−1. Total phenolics content was increased in peppers exposed to ozone at 0.1 μmol mol−1, but was unaffected at 0.3 μmol mol−1. Continuous exposure of red bell peppers to ozone at 0.1 and 0.3 μmol mol−1 had no significant effect on weight loss, texture and colour. In cucumbers and zucchini, continuous exposure to ozone at 0.1 μmol mol−1 reduced weight loss by more than 40% and improved texture maintenance, while having no significant effect on their biochemistry. The findings from this study suggest that continuous exposure to ozone at 0.1 μmol mol−1 is a promising method for shelf-life extension of cucumbers and zucchini. Even though in red bell peppers continuously exposed to ozone at 0.1 μmol mol−1 sugars and phenolics content was increased, further work is still needed to better understand the exact mechanism of ozone action and its potential for the industrial use.
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