Impact of Cold-Storage and UV-C Irradiation Postharvest Treatments on Quality and Antioxidant Properties of Fruits from Blueberry Cultivars Grown in Southern Chile

Highbush blueberry fruits are very perishable, decreasing quality and antioxidant potential during postharvest storage. Several preservation technologies to improve blueberries shelf life have been proposed. We evaluated the impact of fruit cold-storage and UV-C irradiation postharvest treatments on quality and antioxidant properties of berries from different blueberry cultivars grown in southern Chile. Berries of Legacy, Brigitta, and Bluegold cultivars were subjected to cold-storage (4 degrees C, for 28 days) or UV-C irradiation (2.3 or 4.6 kJ m(-2)) before cold-storage (4 degrees C) during 5 or 10 days. Then, fresh weight (FW), total soluble solids (TSS), titratable acidity (TiA), radical scavenging activity (RSA), total phenol content (TPC), and total anthocyanin content (TAC) were analyzed in whole fruits. During cold-storage, fruit FW was reduced (similar to 20%) from day 7 onward, without variations among storage times. The irradiation of fruits with UV-C light also tends to reduce berry FW (similar to 20%), but only in cultivar Legacy and in response to the highest UV-C doses. No significant differences were found in TSS or TiA of fruits by the effect of any treatments. Interestingly, UV-C irradiation induced greater antioxidant properties of blueberries. Bluegold and Brigitta fruits revealed increased RSA under 4.6 kJ m(-2) doses. Also, Bluegold showed the highest levels of TPC at doses of 4.6 kJ m(-2) of UV-C. Moreover, fruits of all cultivars exhibited increased TCA in response to the higher doses of UV-C. UV-C irradiation could be an interesting tool to improve antioxidant potential in highbush blueberries, which can negatively affect fruit quality for fresh consumption.

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