National Institute of Horticultural and Herbal Science, RDA, Suwon 440706, Republic of Korea. email@example.com
The role of different washing solutions and contact times was investigated to determine their use as potential sanitizers for maintaining the microbial quality and food safety of fresh-cut paprika. Samples were cut into small pieces, washed for both 90 and 180 s by different washing solutions: tap water, chlorinated water (100 mg/L and pH 6.5-7), electrolyzed water (pH 7.2) and ozonized water (4 mg/L). Then, samples were packaged in 50 µm polypropylene bags and stored at 5 °C for 12 days, followed by an evaluation of the antimicrobial efficacy of the treatments. Various quality and safety parameters, such as gas composition, color, off-odor, electrical conductivity and microbial numbers, were evaluated during storage. Results revealed insignificant differences in gas composition, and no off-odor was observed in any of the samples during the storage period. However, longer contact time resulted in slightly lower hue angle value than a short one for all washing solutions. Moreover, samples washed with ozone washings showed lower electrolyte leakage than other washing solutions. Samples washed for longer contact time except those washed in ozonized water showed increased microbial numbers during storage. Hence, it has been concluded that longer contact time with ozone has positive effects, whereas the other washing solutions adversely affect the microbial quality and safety aspects of fresh-cut paprika.