Greenhouse cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is one of the most important vegetables in Finland with annual consumption of about 30 million kilogrammes. The cucumber itself generates ethylene at a low level, but excessive ethylene concentrations (>0.5 ppm) in ambient air causes quality losses, like yellowing and softening. The problem is that cucumbers often share the same airspace with ethylene generating fruits and vegetables during transport, storage and sale. The literature review deals with ethylene synthesis and its effects in vegetables. Also, ethylene measurements and detection, as well as ethylene exhaustion, and inhibition are discussed. The aim of the experimental study was to find the best available packaging material for greenhouse cucumbers. From 13 different packaging alternatives, studied in a preliminary test, the most promising were selected for storage experiments. Cucumbers were cultivated in greenhouses in SouthWest Finland. Packed cucumbers were stored at 12 ºC and in airflow with 1 ppm ethylene for 14 or 7 days for the first and second trial, respectively. Analyses were performed once a week. They consisted of O2and CO2concentrations of packages and sensory quality of whole and sliced cucumbers. Cucumbers were also photographed. Results showed that cucumbers packed in low oxygen transmission film deteriorated fast, whereas too many holes in a package resulted in high weight losses. Cucumbers packed in shrinkwrapped PEpackages with micro holes had lighter green colour than other cucumbers after 13 days. Cucumbers packed in biodegradable film had nearly 25 % weight loss after 27 days compared to other packages causing weight loss of 3 %. After 13 and 21 days’ storage time the freshness of taste was better if the PPpouch with an ethylene scavenger was used. The currentlyused shrinkwrapped PEpackage with micro holes proved to be a good choice for cucumbers if there is no risk of ethylene in food chain. If ethylene is present, it is better to use a PPpouch with micro holes. In that case, additional benefit of improved freshness of taste can be achieved by using ethylene scavengers.
|Place of Publication
|Published - 2009
|MoE publication type
|G2 Master's thesis, polytechnic Master's thesis