A research study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service has found that high-output ultraviolet-C (UVC) lights are effective in improving the quality and shelf life of fresh-cut cantaloupe melon. The findings of the study, which used high-output UVC lights manufactured by Steril-Aire Inc., have far-reaching implications because the $15 billion fresh-cut produce industry is one of the fastest growing categories in the U.S. food market today.
According to the study, “Results indicate that while post-cut application of UV improved shelf life of cut cantaloupe melon, cutting fruit under UVC radiation further improves product quality.” More specifically, the study found that UVC radiation during processing reduced rancidity and improved firmness retention in the stored fruit. It also reduced spoilage microorganisms such as mesophilic and lactic acid bacteria.
UVC energy is best known in the food industry for its ability to kill or inactivate mold and bacteria that may contaminate food products. The cantaloupe study supports this premise – yet it provides important new evidence that UVC also produces favorable enzymatic changes during processing.
Lamikanra plans to conduct a second phase of the study to investigate how one or more exposures to UVC light may be combined with other technologies to further enhance produce shelf life and quality. By extending the shelf life of high-value perishable food items, food processors can achieve greater profitability and operational efficiencies.
For a reprint of the complete study, “Effect of Processing Under Ultraviolet Light on the Shelf Life of Fresh-Cut Cantaloupe Melon”, contact: Steril-Aire, Inc., 2840 N. Lima St., Burbank, CA 91504; telephone 800-2STERIL or 818-565-1128; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org;www.steril-aire.com.