Shelf Life Determination of Fresh Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) Stored under Controlled Atmosphere and Ozone
Fresh blueberries are commonly stored and transported by refrigeration in controlled atmospheres to protect shelf life for long periods of storage. Ozone is an antimicrobial gas that can extend shelf life and protect fruit from microbial contamination. Shelf life of fresh highbush blueberries was determined over 10-day storage in isolated cabinets at 4°C or 12°C under different atmosphere conditions, including air (control); 5% O2 : 15% CO2 : 80% N2 (controlled atmosphere storage (CAS)); and ozone gas (O3) 4 ppm at 4°C or 2.5 ppm at 12°C, at high relative humidity (90-95%). Samples were evaluated for yeast and molds growth, weight loss, and firmness. CAS and O3 did not delay or inhibit yeast and molds growth in blueberries after 10 days at both temperatures. Fruit stored at 4°C showed lower weight loss values compared with 12°C. Blueberries stored under O3 atmosphere showed reduced weight loss at 12°C by day 10 and loss of firmness when compared to the other treatments. Low concentrations of ozone gas together with proper refrigeration temperature can help protect fresh blueberries quality during storage.