Utilizing xanthan gum coatings as probiotic bacteria carriers to enhance postharvest quality and antioxidants in fresh-cut cantaloupe and honeydew (Cucumis melo L.) melons.

Chikhala, Tshudufhadzo
Seke, Faith
Slabbert, Retha M.
Sultanbawa, Yasmina
Sivakumar, Dharini
Due to spoilage microflora and browning, minimally processed fresh-cut fruits have a short shelf life, and over the years, studies have shown the potential of using edible coatings to extend the shelf life and improve the safety of fresh-cut fruits. Recently, there has been a rise in research on the incorporation of probiotics in edible coatings due to the bespoke health and bio preservation benefits they impart. Therefore, in this study, lactobacillus strains (Lactiplantibacillus plantarum 75 and Bifidobacterium longum) were incorporated into a xanthan edible coating to enhance color retention, sensory properties, antioxidant retention (ascorbic acid, carotenoids, total phenols), and antioxidant activity (FRAP antioxidant power, ABTS scavenger activity) of fresh-cut cantaloupes and honeydew cucumis melo L. melons during cold storage at 5 C and 85% RH for five days. The edible coating was prepared by mixing 0.5% xanthan gum, 1% glycerol, and 2% citric acid solution with L. plantarum 75 (LAB 75) and Bifidobacterium longum bacteria separately, and the final lab count for each strain was made to be 8.0 log CFU/mL. Stable probiotic coatings with ζ-potential of between −39.7 and −51.4 mV and a PdI of 1 were developed, and the incorporation of the probiotic bacteria into the coating was justified using FTIR analysis. The probiotic coatings showed a typical pseudoplastic behavior, in which the viscosity curves fall as the shear rate increases. Thermal stability analysis showed a continuous and multi-step weight reduction in this work, illustrating how the edible coating components interact. The survival of both Lactobacillus strains was recorded on day 5. Both freshly cut melons coated with xanthan and loaded with Lactobacillus strains retained a sufficient quantity of probiotics at the end of storage, while L. plantarum 75 (7 log CFU/g for cantaloupe and 8 log CFU/g for honeydew) retained the highest viability compared to B. longum (6 log CFU/g for cantaloupe and 7 log CFU/g for honeydew). In comparison to the coated and uncoated control samples, the inclusion of L. plantarum 75 in xanthan coatings significantly retained the color properties, pigments (total chlorophyll and carotenoids), ascorbic acid, total phenols, and antioxidant activity (FRAP, DPPH, and ABTS). The overall acceptability of fresh cuts of cantaloupe and honeydew melons coated with xanthan gum loaded with L. plantarum 75 was higher than that of other treatments. Thus, xanthan gum loaded with L. plantarum 75 coating is most suitable for reducing postharvest losses in fresh cuts of honeydew melons and cantaloupe, which will help preserve antioxidant and bioactive properties. The xanthan gum loaded with L. plantarum 75 coatings exhibited the highest preservation impact; therefore, it can be recommended for the fresh-cut industry.
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edible coating, bioactive compounds, antioxidant properties, lactobacillus strains, color properties, sensory properties
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