Quality of fresh-cut tomatoes as affected by salt content in irrigation water and post-processing ultraviolet-C treatment

Hyun Jin Kim, Jorge M. Fonseca, Chieri Kubota, Mark Kroggel, Ju Hee Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: There is little information available concerning the effect of sanitizing agents, including ultraviolet (UV-C) light, on nutritional composition of fresh-cut produce. In this study, the influence of UV-C light irradiation (3.2-19.2 kJ m-2) on the nutritional quality of fresh-cut tomato cv. Durinta grown under either low (2.4/2.8 dS m-1) or high (4.9/7.7 dS m-1) electrical conductivity (EC) of the hydroponic nutrient influx/efflux solution was investigated. RESULTS: When grown under low EC UV-C light treatment reduced development of microbial population of fresh-cut tomato, increased phenolic content and delayed degradation of vitamin C after 7 days of storage at 4-6°C. UV-C light irradiation had no significant effect on appearance, color or lycopene content of fresh-cut tomato. In recently harvested intact tomatoes, the lycopene and vitamin C contents were 30% higher in tomatoes irrigated with high EC, whereas the phenolic content was unaffected by the salt treatment. After fresh-cut processing, phenolic and vitamin C contents of fresh cuts produced from tomatoes treated with high EC decreased by >10%. This decline was initially accelerated in tomato treated with UV-C light irradiation. CONCLUSIONS: Our results revealed that fresh-cut tomatoes are affected dissimilarly by UV-C treatments, depending on the degree of salt stress undergone by plants before harvest. We determined the impact of a sanitizing procedure on nutritional composition, an effect often overlooked but with great significance to ensure overall quality of fresh produce. Our findings revealed the need for more nutritional studies addressing the effect of multiple stress factors from pre-harvest to post-processing stages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1969-1974
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Issue number11
StatePublished - Aug 30 2008


  • Fresh-cut
  • Lycopene
  • Phenolic compound
  • Salt stress
  • Vitamin C

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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