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5A-07-Physical and Chemical Quality of Freeze-stored Dates

5A-07-Physical and Chemical Quality of Freeze-stored Dates

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08/10/2013

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 I
 NTERNATIONAL
J
OURNAL OF
A
GRICULTURE
&
 
B
IOLOGY
 ISSN Print: 1560–8530; ISSN Online: 1814–959611–468/AWB/2012/14–1–97–100http://www.fspublishers.org
 Full Length Article
To cite this paper:
Al-Yahyai, R. and L. Al-Kharusi, 2012. Physical and chemical quality attributes of freeze-stored dates.
 Int. J. Agric. Biol
., 14: 97–100
Physical and Chemical Quality Attributes of Freeze-StoredDates
ASHID
A
L
-Y
AHYAI
1
AND
L
ATIFA
A
L
-K 
HARUSI
 
 Department of Crop Sciences, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, P.O. Box 34, Al- Khod 123, Oman
1
Corresponding author’s e-mail: alyahyai@squ.edu.om
 
ABSTRACT
Dates can be consumed at three stages: at the fully-ripe stage (khalal), when partially overripe (rutab), and at the fully overripestage (tamar). Only the latter stage of dry dates i.e., tamar are traditionally stored for future consumption and processing.However, with the introduction of freeze-storage in rural date palm cultivation areas, prolonged storage in freezers has beengaining popularity as it allows for the consumption of all three stages at any time of the year. The effects of prolonged freeze-storage on date physical and chemical quality attributes were assessed in this study. Dates were collected at three ripeningstages (i.e., khalal, rutab & tamar) from 8-years old date palms (
Phoenix dactylifera
L.) grown in northern Oman andsubjected to storage at -18
o
C in a conventional freezer. Fruit quality data were collected at harvest, after 6 months and 10months of storage. The results showed that prolonged freezing affected fruit physical and chemical quality at different ripeningstages. Physical attributes such as flesh and seed weights were reduced during freeze-storage, while percentage of flesh to seedand fruit volume was not affected by freezing. Moreover, storage up to 6 months produced the highest total soluble solids,titratable acidity, pH and biomass for all ripening stages. Rutab stage maintained high fruit volume, flesh and seed weightsduring storage. Whereas, tamar stage had the highest total soluble sugars, titratable acidity but the lowest pH, TSS: TA ratio, pectin and biomass. No interaction between ripening stages and storage duration was found in this study. Results suggest that prolonged freeze-storage is a viable alternative that allows for the consumption of dates at three stages of ripening compared toconventional storage of only dry dates. © 2012 Friends Science Publishers
Key Words:
Date palm; Fruit quality; Oman;
Phoenix dactylifera
; Postharvest; Storage
INTRODUCTION
 
Date palm (
Phoenix dactylifera
L.) is the main fruitcrop in arid and semi-arid regions of western Asia and North Africa between 24
o
 N and 34
o
 N (Zaid & Arias-Jiménez, 2002). In the Sultanate of Oman, for example, date palm constitutes approximately 50% of the total cultivatedarea (Al-Yahyai, 2007). Date palm is cultivated in regionsthat are characterized by harsh climates for the cultivation of other food crops. Therefore, dates are considered anutritionally important fruits in many parts of thedeveloping world. Dates in Oman are usually consumed (1) by
tabseel,
which is boiling fully mature dates that havedeveloped full color i.e., khalal stage; (2) when dates are atthe rutab stage, when the distal end of the fruit becomessoft; or (3) when the
 
dates
 
are
 
 partially
 
or 
 
fully
 
dry andthe fruit has attained
 
its
 
highest
 
sugar content i.e., thetamar stage. Dates are normally stored for a maximum of two years for future
 
consumption
 
and
 
 processing
 
during
 
the tamar stage.Date physical and chemical fruit quality characteristicsvary greatly among cultivars (Jaradat & Zaid, 2004; Al-Yahyai & Al-Khanjari, 2008; Sakr 
et al.,
2010) and atvarious fruit developmental stages (Rouhani & Bassiri,1976; Ahmed
et al.,
1995; Myhara
et al.,
1999; Al-Kharusi
et al.,
2007). Various postharvest approaches were appliedto increase date fruit quality and extend shelf-life includinglow/high temperature storage and use of controlledatmosphere environments (Falade & Abbo, 2007; Dehghan-Shoar 
et al.,
2009). The date industry usually stores tamar at
3°C up to one year. After packing and releasing to themarket, the fruits are expected to have a shelf-life of up totwo years at room temperature (~25°C) (Ismail
et al.,
2008).However, with the introduction of electricity and moderntechnology in traditional date farming communities, freeze-storage provides supplemental or alternative storage optionthat allows for the consumption of dates at three stagescompared to the dry storage of the tamar stage.Since fruit quality and shelf-life are affected byextended postharvest storage conditions, it is very importantto assess the effects of these conditions on the physical andchemical properties of dates. This study was aimed atinvestigating the effect of extended freeze-storage on postharvest fruit quality of date fruits (cv. ‘Khalas’) and theresponse of various date ripening stages to prolongedfreeze-storage.
 
 A
L
-Y
AHYAI AND
A
L
-K 
HARUSI
/
Int. J. Agric. Biol., Vol. 14, No. 1, 2012
 
98
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Plant materials:
Fruits were randomly collected from 8-year 
 
old
 
date
 
 palm
 
(cv.
 
‘Khalas’) trees planted at aspacing
 
of 
 
10 × 10 m at the Agricultural ExperimentStation of Sultan Qaboos University in the Sultanate of Oman, during the summer of 2008. Fruit bunches werethinned to eight per tree following fruit set and prior tosampling.
 
The date palms were supplied with to thestandard
 
recommended
 
fertilizer 
 
and
 
irrigation regimesfor 
 
northern
 
Oman.
 
Forty
 
strands per eight replicationtrees
 
were
 
randomly
 
collected
 
at
 
each of the threeripening
 
stages
 
(i.e.,
 
khalal,
 
rutab
 
& tamar). The fruitswere further divided into sub-samples of 100 fruits per replication for the physical and chemical qualitymeasurements. The fruits were placed into clear plastic bagsand stored in a conventional freezer with temperature set toat -18
o
C.
Fruit quality measurements:
Date fruits were harvested ateach of the ripening stages (i.e., khalal, rutab & tamar) andwere immediately subjected to physical and chemicalquality
 
assessments.
 
Following
 
freeze-storage, thesequality
 
measurements
 
were
 
taken
 
after 
 
six
 
and
 
ten
 
months of storage. The following fruit measurements weretaken: fruit number per strand, fruit fresh weight, fruitvolume, flesh and seed weights and juice contents.Chemical quality attributes were conducted using theextracted juice that included total soluble solids (TSS)contents, titratable acidity (TA), pH, and pectin. Fresh anddry weights of fruits were used to calculate the percentageof fruit biomass. Dry weight was determined by drying in anair oven at 105ºC for 24 h (AOAC, 2000). TA wasdetermined against 0.01 N of sodium hydroxide accordingto AOAC (2000), and results expressed in terms of citricacid. Total soluble solids (TSS %) measured by digitalrefractometer (160, Shibuya Optical Co. Ltd., Wako-shi,Saitama Pref., Japan). For dry fruits at the tamar stage, datesolution was prepared by weighing 30 g of fruit samples andan aliquot of 90 mL of distilled water was added and blended.
Statistical analysis:
The statistical analysis to test theeffects of the two variables (i.e., ripening stage & storage period) and their interaction distributed in a completelyrandomized design (CRD) on fruit quality was done usingthe Generalized Linear Model (GLM) of the SAS Software(SAS Institute, Carey, NC). The means for the effects of storage period and the ripening stages were separated andcompared using the Duncan’s Multiple Range Test asdescribed by Snedecor and Cochran (1989). Least squaremeans (LSMeans) option of the GML procedure was usedto determine the interaction between the two variables.Hence no significant interaction was found, data is presented herein for the main effects of storage periods andripening stages only. Mean points were calculated from pooled data of all the fruit ripening stages or storageduration ± standard error (SE).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
This study investigated the long-term changes in fruit physical and chemical quality attributes during freeze-storage of dates at different maturity stages. Upon harvest,the ranges of the quantity of physical characteristics andchemical components were similar to those previouslyobtained for date palm fruit (cv. ‘Khalas’) grown under similar conditions of northern Oman (Al-Kharusi
et al.,
 2007; El Mardi
et al.,
1998, 2007).
Fruit physical quality attributes:
Results showedsignificant changes in various fruit physical characteristicsin response to freeze-storage of fruits at various ripeningstages (Fig. 1 & 2). Significant reductions in flesh and seedweights due to prolonged freeze-storage for 6 and 10months
 
were
 
observed
 
across
 
all
 
fruit
 
ripening
 
stages(Fig. 1). However, no change in fruit volume occurred after 10 months of storage and the ratio of flesh to seed remainedhigh (~90%) up to six months but was slightly reduced to87.65% at the 10
th
month of storage (Fig. 1).Samples collected during the ripening stages of khalaland rutab had more fruits per strand than at the later over-ripe (tamar) stage that had about one third of the fruitsremained intact in the strands (Fig. 2). This indicated thatextended on-tree storage of dates is not suitable for ‘Khalas’cultivar and harvest should be carried out during the earlier ripening stages. Data further showed that no significantdifference between khalal and rutab in fruit weight andvolume (Fig. 2). However, rutab stage had the greatestaverage fruit volume, flesh and seed weights, and percentage of flesh to seed, while tamar stage was thelowest amongst the three ripening stages (Fig. 2). This isexpected since tamar stage has the lowest moisture content,which correlates with reduced physical fruit measurements.Previous study on ‘Khalas’ from UAE suggested amaximum storage of two months under -3
o
C compared toBarhee cultivar that was stored for a year under similar conditions
 
without
 
deterioration
 
(Ismail
et al.,
1998).Ismail
et al.
(1998) attributed the rapid deterioration of ‘Khalas’ to perhaps chemical and physiological changes in‘Khalas’ dates. Lower storage temperature of -18
o
C mayhave helped preserve our ‘Khalas’ samples for up to 10months.
Fruit chemical quality attributes:
Results from this studyshowed variations in measured fruit chemical qualityattributes of dates stored at -18
o
C at various ripening stages(Fig. 3 & 4). Freeze storage up to six months increased fruit(TSS) (
o
Brix), TA and pH (Fig. 3). Unexplained rise in TAafter 6 months of storage led to a significant decline inTSS:TA ratio followed by 10-month storage compared to ahigh TSS:TA ratio determined upon harvest (Fig. 3). Fruit pectin content was measured at harvest and after 10 monthsof storage at -18
o
C showed a significant decline over this period (Fig. 3). However, due to lack of data for 6 months, itis not clear if this was a steady decline or it would havefollowed the trend for TSS mentioned above. Fruit biomass
 
 A
TTRIBUTES OF
F
REEZE
-
STORED
D
ATES
/
Int. J. Agric. Biol., Vol. 14, No. 1, 2012
 
99
as determined on dry weight basis from fresh and dryweight measurements did not significantly vary amongstorage durations.Date fruit TSS (
o
Brix) steadily increase with theadvancement of fruit ripening from khalal to rutab to tamar 
Fig. 1: Physical properties of ‘Khalas’ dates at harvest(0) and after 6 months (6) and 10 months (10) of storage under -18
o
C (Pooled data means ±SE).Columns with same letters differ non-significantly(P>0.05) from each other
   F   l  e  s   h  w  e   i  g   h   t   (  g   )
024681012141618
   S  e  e   d  w  e   i  g   h   t   (  g   )
0.00.20.40.60.81.01.21.41.6Storage duration (months)0 6 10
   P  e  r  c  e  n   t  a  g  e  o   f   f   l  e  s   h   t  o  s  e  e   d
020406080Storage duration (months)0 6 10
   F  r  u   i   t  v  o   l  u  m  e   (  c  m   3   )
02468
ABCD
abbacbaabaa
 
Fig. 2: Physical properties of ‘Khalas’ dates stored at -18
o
C at three maturity stages i.e., khalal, rutab, andtamar (Pooled data means ±SE). Columns with sameletters differ non-significantly (P>0.05) from each other
Fruit maturity stageKhalal Rutab Tamar
   S  e  e   d  w  e   i  g   h   t   (  g   )
0.00.20.40.60.81.01.21.4Fruit maturity stageKhalal Rutab Tamar
   P  e  r  c  e  n   t  a  g  e  o   f   f   l  e  s   h   t  o  s  e  e   d
020406080
   F  r  u   i   t  v  o   l  u  m  e   (  c  m   3   )
0246810
   F   l  e  s   h  w  e   i  g   h   t   (  g   )
0246810121416
   F  r  u   i   t  n  u  m   b  e  r  p  e  r  s   t  r  a  n   d
02468101214
   F  r  u   i   t  w  e   i  g   h   t   (  g   )
02468101214
ABCDEF
aabaaaabbacbacbac
Fig. 3: Chemical properties of ‘Khalas’ dates at harvest(0) and after 6 months (6) and 10 months (10) of storage under -18
o
C (Pooled data means ±SE).Columns with same letters differ non-significantly(P>0.05) from each other
   T  o   t  a   l  s  o   l  u   b   l  e  s  o   l   i   d  s   (  o   B  r   i  x   )
05101520253035
   T   i   t  r  a   t  a   b   l  e  a  c   i   d   i   t  y   (   %   )
0123456
   T   S   S  :   T   A
010203040506070
  p   H
02468Storage duration (months)0 6 10
   B   i  o  m  a  s  s   (   %   )
010203040Storage duration (months)0 6 10
   P  e  c   t   i  n   (   %   )
0.00.20.40.60.81.01.21.41.61.8
babcabacbcababaaa
 
Fig. 4: Chemical properties of ‘Khalas’ dates stored at -18
o
C at three maturity stages i.e., khalal, rutab, andtamar (Pooled data means ±SE). Columns with sameletters differ non-significantly (P>0.05) from each other
   T  o   t  a   l  s  o   l  u   b   l  e  s  o   l   i   d  s   (  o   B  r   i  x   )
01020304050
   T   i   t  r  a   t  a   b   l  e  a  c   i   d   i   t  y   (   %   )
0123456
  p   H
012345678
   T   S   S  :   T   A
01020304050Khalal Rutab Tamar
   P  e  c   t   i  n   (   %   )
0.00.51.01.5Khalal Rutab Tamar
   B   i  o  m  a  s  s   (   %   )
010203040Fruit maturity stageFruit maturity stage
cbabbabacabcabcaab

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