One of the greatest barriers to the commercial marketing of fresh-cut fruit is limited shelf-life due to tissue softening and surface browning. Moreover, the development of microorganisms on the fruit surface can compromise the safety of the fresh-cut product. Edible coatings have been proposed as postharvest treatments to maintain quality and prolong shelf-life. The present work aims to evaluate the effect of chitosan coatings in physical, chemical, nutritional and microbiological characteristics of minimally processed ‘Rocha’ pear. Fruits were peeled, cut into slices and immersed in different quitosan solutions (0.7, 1, 1.5 e 2 g L-1). Treated samples were stored at 4ºC during 10 days. Physical and physicochemical analysis were performed, including moisture content, firmness, color, titratable acidity and total soluble solids. Nutritional analysis and microbiological evaluations of psychrophilic bacteria, molds and yeasts were also carried out. Chitosan coatings reduced water loss, maintained firmness, and reduced surface browning during storage. No negative effects were observed in the nutritional quality of treated pears. Chitosan coatings could be used to preserve quality and to extend shelf-life of fresh-cut ‘Rocha’ pear.
Key words: Biofilms, Edible coatings, Minimally processed fruits, ‘Rocha’ pear, Shelf life