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Application of an Edible Coating Based on Aloe vera to Improve

General Quality of Minimal Processed Pomegranate Arils
D. Martínez-Rubio1, N. Pina1, F. Guillén1, D. Valero1, P.J. Zapata1, M. Serrano2,
J.M. Valverde1, S. Castillo1, H.M. Díaz-Mula1,a and D. Martínez-Romero1
1
Dept. Food Technology
2
Dept. Applied Biology
University Miguel Hernández, EPSO
Ctra. Beniel km. 3,2. 03312 Orihuela, Alicante
Spain
Keywords: packaging, storage, edible coating, quality
Abstract
The pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) grown in many countries of the
Mediterranean Sea, is usually consumed as fresh seeds (arils). The arils contain
around 80% of juice and 20% of seed. The cultivar ‘Wonderful’ is quite appreciated
by consumers, containing high concentrations of sugars, organic acids, vitamins,
polysaccharides, and essential minerals. However, desiccation and browning result
in important quality losses during postharvest storage of pomegranate arils. To
prevent moisture loss and suppress desiccation-related browning, we applied an
edible coating based on Aloe vera to improve commercial life and general quality of
minimally processed arils. Pomegranate arils treated by immersion in a solution
containing organic acids (control) and in Aloe vera gel solution after that, all the aril
were placed inside plastic packages under cold storage up to 17 days.
Results show, that the edible coating did not affect the natural flavour of
pomegranate arils or the internal gas composition (CO2 and O2) of the package in
comparison with control arils. On the other hand, the application of the edible
coating resulted in lower ethylene concentration in the packaging head space and a
higher firmness of the arils. A more advanced maturity was seen for control fruit
arils in comparison with those which Aloe vera coating was applied. In addition, the
edible coating reduced the microbial counts drastically. For these reasons, Aloe vera
gel coating could be an effective additional technology to improve the general quality
of this product.
INTRODUCTION
Pomegranate is generally consumed fresh or processed into juice, syrup, jams, or
wine. In recent years, minimally processed “ready-to-eat” pomegranate arils have become
popular due to their convenience, high value, unique sensory characteristics, and health
benefits. Studies showed that pomegranate has chemopreventive properties such as
antimutagenicity, antihypertensive activity, antioxidative potential, and reduction of liver
injury due to its high anthocyanin content (Hertog et al., 1997).
Edible coatings are traditionally used to improve food appearance and
conservation. They act as barriers during processing, handling and storage, and do not
solely retard food deterioration enhancing its quality, but are safe due to natural biocide
activity, or to the incorporation of antimicrobial compounds. Different compounds have
mainly been used as edible coatings to prevent commodity weight loss, including wax,
milk proteins, celluloses, lipids, starch, zein, and alginate (Cha and Chinnan, 2004).
Currently, there is an increasing interest in the use of Aloe vera gel in the food
industry as a component of functional foods in drinks, beverages and ice creams.
Nevertheless, processing techniques used to obtain A. vera gel are very important to
ensure the product quality and to maintain almost all the bioactive components (He et al.,
2005).
                                                            
a

h.diazmula@gmail.com

Proc. XIth Int. Controlled and Modified Atmosphere Research Conf.
Eds.: M.L. Amodio and G. Colelli
Acta Hort. 1071, ISHS 2015

489

UK). bruise and cut in the husk) were discarded. and injected into a gas chromatograph GC 14B (Shimadzu. London.5% citric acid (CA) + 0. Results were expressed as the force-deformation (N mm-1) and were the mean ± SE (n=15). vera. Results (mean±SE) were expressed as kPa O2 and kPa CO2 inside the packages. Japan) at 20°C. Bellefonte. ‘Mollar de Elche’) were picked in a commercial orchard in Orihuela (Alicante. All the arils were packaged in 40 polypropylene trays.1. Ripening Index Arils of each treatment were combined to obtain a homogenous juice sample for each replicate. 80-100 mesh (Carbosieve SII.5% ascorbic acid (AC).The aim of this work was to study the effect of A. respectively. All the packages were stored at 3°C during 2 weeks in which internal atmosphere. Tokyo..5% ascorbic acid (AC). Serial dilutions were carried out. Pomegranates with defects (sunburn. CO2 and O2 were separated on a molecular sieve 5A column. Arils where place in a compression glass in which was applied a compression flat steel plate. fruit firmness. Spain).5% citric acid (CA) + 0. Helium was used as carrier gas at a flow rate of 50 ml min-1. gloves. Fruit Firmness This parameter was measured using a flat steel plate coupled with a texturometer (TX-XT2i Texture Analyzer. TSS concentration was determined with a digital refractometer Atago PR101 (Atago Co. and expressed as g 100 g-1. vera gel is used as an edible coating in pomegranate arils. around 200 pomegranates.1 N NaOH up to pH 8.d. The force that achieved a 3% deformation of the fruits was applied. Metrohm) with 0. applied as an edible coating according to our patent (Martínez-Romero et al. which were homogenized in 90 ml of sterile peptone water using a stomacher (model Seward. The ratio between soluble solids concentration and titratable acidity was considered as a ripening index (RI). Supelco Inc. Japan) equipped with a thermal conductivity detector (TCD). UK) interfaced to a personal computer. on the change in physicochemical parameters related to fruit quality during cold storage of pomegranate arils. and 1 ml was added to plate count agar for mesophilic aerobic and for yeast and mold counts (Petrifilm Aerobic and Yeast 490 .. The rest of the fruit were immersed in a solution containing 50% Aloe vera + 0. of 2 m length and 3 mm i.. as well as its role in controlling microbial spoilage. this is the first published paper in which A. Laboratory Blender Stomacher 400. USA). It could be an innovative and interesting commercial product and an alternative to the use of synthetic postharvest fungicides. in which total soluble solids (TSS) and total acidity (TA) were determined in duplicate. Stable Microsystems. 2003). ripening index and microbial counts were studied. Gas Composition CO2 and O2 concentrations were quantified in duplicate in each package by withdrawal of 1 ml of headspace atmosphere using an airtight syringe. Microbiological Analysis Samples of 10 g from each package were obtained under sterile conditions (laminar fume cupboard. TA (g of malic acid equivalent per 100 g-1 fresh weight) was determined by automatic titration (785 DMP Titrino. Oven and injector temperature were 50 and 110°C. Tokyo. Control arils were immersed in a solution containing 0. and scalpels). Fruit were harvested when fully mature according to commercial practice and immediately transported to the laboratory. Ltd. were peeled and washed in order to obtain the arils which were applied several treatments by immersion as follows. The remaining fruit. As far as we are aware. MATERIALS AND METHODS Pomegranates (P. granatum L. crack. using 1 ml of diluted juice in 25 ml distilled H2O.

Some individual components found in A. and changes showed that there was an advance of the ripening process in control arils compared with treated ones (Fig. In some non-climacteric fruit. The calculation of the ratio between TSS and TA. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The CO2 concentration inside the packages in control arils slightly increased over cold storage.. cannot be discounted (Nunan et al. France). respiration rate was reduced by Aloe in cold storage or in post-storage shelf conditions at 20°C (Valverde et al. B. 3). The effect of Aloe coating on reducing these physiological traits could be attributed to modification of the internal atmosphere (increase in CO2 and decrease in O2) that potentially reduces ethylene production (Valero and Serrano.. such as table grape. The antifungal activity of A. and could be attributed mainly to the presence of Aloe-emodin and aloenin together with other active compounds (Ali et al. the main cell wall degrading enzymes.and Mold Count Plates. microbiological. 1998). 2). such as Penicillium digitatum. chemical.. and sweet cherry. polygalacturonase. 4).. the inhibitory effects of several Aloe extracts have been also found on Aspergillus niger. Martínez-Romero et al. In fact. cinerea and Alternaria alternata (Jasso de Rodríguez et al. and only counts of 30-300 colony-forming units (CFU) were considered. The reduced ripening index was related to maintenance of TA while the content of TSS was unchanged along storage irrespective of treatments. In the same way. Statistical Analysis Data for the physical. 2003). for mesophilic aerobics and yeast and moulds (Fig. Laboratories 3M. vera gel on the reduction of α-galactosidase. microbial populations were significantly reduced in Aloetreated arils. In addition. vera gel. 2006). On the other hand. 3). P. 2005). O2 concentration was slightly higher than for control arils in some of the days of sampling but without significant differences (Fig.. whereas losses of >20% were detected in control arils during cold storage (Fig. The explanation for this firmness maintenance could be related to the lower weight losses. Texture is an important attribute demanded by consumers and most of the time is responsible for fruit acceptability. The rate and extension of firmness loss during storage are the main factors determining fruit quality. is considered a ripening index. Cladosporium herbarum and Fusarium moniliforme. Aloe treatment significantly reduced the firmness losses during cold storage.. Sources of variation were time of storage and treatments. as has been reported in sweet cherry treated with different edible coatings (Yaman and Bayindirh. On the other hand the effect of A. 1999). vera has been reported against postharvest fruit pathogens. 11.0 for Windows (36). In contrast.05. 1). ethylene concentration showed a continuous increase with time in storage for control arils. the reduction of the growth of 17 bacteria by A. although the specific mechanism of action is still unknown. Plates were incubated during 3 days at 30°C and 5 days at 25°C for mesophilic aerobic and yeast and mold. respectively. After evaluating total aerobic counts. expansum. and this increase was significantly lower in Aloe treated packages (Fig. Moreover. 491 . in all samples tested. 2002).. Santé. vera gel has been proven (Reynolds and Dweck. All analyses were performed with SPSS software package v. being more effective against gram positive than gram negative microorganisms (Ferro et al. and pectinmethylesterase activities. Samples were prepared in triplicate. in comparison with Aloe-treated arils. 1999). 2005. we observed significant increases in microbial populations occurred on control fruit. related to the Aloe coating because the coating produced similar effects as has been shown for MAP conditions (Serrano et al. 2010). Mean comparisons were performed using HSD of Tukey’s test to examine if differences between treatments and storage time were significant at P<0. 2005) and was based on the suppression of germination and the inhibition of mycelial growth. This could be due to the modification of the internal atmosphere. and sensory parameters were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA).

D. Antifungal activity in vitro of Aloe vera pulp and liquid fraction against plant pathogenic fungi. Valero. to our knowledge this is the first time that A. Crop Prod. L.. and AnguloSanchez. G.. Hernandez-Castillo. Shalaby. Food Sci. Robinson. Valero. 2005. Valverde.. Nunan. Valero. 2005.. 68:3-37. Plant Physiol. Robins (eds. Serrano. D. 44:223-237.L. and Valero. 13:401-407. Effects of an edible coating and cold storage on shelflife and quality of cherries. and Bayindirh. D. 21:81-87. Postharvest sweet cherry quality and safety maintenance by Aloe vera treatment: a new edible coating. M. 53:7807-7813. and Castillo.. I. and Dweck. vera gel delayed softening and TA losses. Hertog. Food Sci. In addition. acemannan and anthraquinones derivatives. D. Ind. Clarendon Press: Oxford. M. D. A. 18:783-792. and Verhoeven. D. Alburquerque. 1999.G.A.M. 2003. G. Inno. Res. L. Postharvest Biol. van Poppel. Guillén. Antifungal effects of different plant extracts and their major components of selected Aloe species. Rev. Novel edible coating based on of Aloe vera gel to maintain table grape quality and safety. Castillo. M. 1997. Potentially anticarcinogenic secondary metabolites from fruit and vegetables. Aloe vera leaf gel: a review update.such as saponins. S..B. Ethnopharmacol. These results were confirmed by the reduction of both mesophilic aerobics and yeast and mould counts.A. u. and Chinnan. Lebensm. Cha.. J. O. D. Martínez-Romero. Martínez-Romero. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This work has been co-funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN) and FEDER Funds through Project AGL2009-10857 (ALI).. Martínez-Romero. Phytother. and Mousa. E. 6:115-123. Phytochemistry of Fruit and Vegetables.. S.H. Food Control 16:95-104.L.J.313-329.M. 35:146-150. 1999.. and Serrano.... Yaman. Rodrıguez-Garcıa. are known to have antibiotic activity. N. 39:93-100. S. J. Serrano...S. M.J. SP Patent Filed 200302937. In future.S. A. vera gel activity on preserving fruit quality and safety for future commercial purposes.I. Food Chem. Tomás-Barberán and R. Technol. -Technol.. J. 492 . and could be responsible for its antibacterial activity. CONCLUSIONS In conclusion. D. D.. Literature Cited Ali.. F. confirmation of this novel coating efficacy in other fruit will be necessary to gain a better knowledge about A. Changhong. Technol.M. Guillén. 2005. 2004.. M.P. Quality and safety assurance in the processing of Aloe vera gel juice. A. T.C. Castillo. Castillo. J. Tian. Martínez-Romero. 2006. 1998. and Fincher. J. F. In: F. Jasso de Rodrıguez. Guillén. Z. The use of antifungal compounds improves the beneficial effect of MAP in sweet cherry storage. S. F. and Serrano. He. M. .A. 2002. Biopolymer-based antimicrobial packaging: a review Crit. Reynolds. Sims. D.Wiss. p. M. Changes in cell wall composition during ripening of grape berries.. S. applied as edible coating in arils. N.. 2005. This treatment was effective as a physical barrier and thus affected the modification of the internal atmosphere during cold storage. D.. Elgamai. Valverde.). Emerg. has beneficial effects in retarding the deterioration process. vera gel. Agric. A. Aplicacion de Aloe vera como recubrimiehto sobre frutas y hortalizas. M. Bacic.M. Nutr. R.M.. and Kojo. K. maintaining fruit quality. D.M.

0 0 3 7 10 Days of storage at 3°C 14 17 0 3 7 10 14 17 Days of storage at 3°C Fig. Fig.0 2. Changes in Ethylene concentrations (%) of pomegranate arils inside packages alone (control) or with Aloe vera coating during cold storage. 2.0 3.0 16 3.5 2.5 18 4. 1.5 2 0.5 6 1.5 4. Changes in CO2 and O2 concentrations (%) of arils inside packages alone (control) or with Aloe vera coating during cold storage. Data are the mean±SE (n=10).0 12 10 8 1. 493 .5 14 O 2 (%) CO 2 (%) CONTROL ALOE 20 5. Data are the mean±SE (n=10).0 4 0.Figures 22 CONTROL ALOE 5.

Data are the mean±SE (n=10). Evolution of mesophilic aerobic counts and yeast and molds (CFU ml-1) of pomegranate arils inside packages alone (control) or with Aloe vera coating during cold storage.6 5.8 5.4 5. 494 .2 6. Fig.2 0 3 7 10 Days of storage at 3°C 14 17 0 3 7 10 14 17 Days of storage at 3°C Fig.8 CONTROL ALOE Ripening index (ºBrix / Total acidity) -1 Fruit Firmness (Nmm ) 30 25 20 15 10 CONTROL ALOE 6.6. Data are the mean±SE (n=15).0 5. Evolution of fruit firmness (N mm-1) and ripening index (°Brix/total acidity) of pomegranate arils inside packages alone (control) or with Aloe vera coating during cold storage. 3.4 6. 4.6 6.