Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Food Science and Technology, Damghan Branch,Islamic Azad University, Damghan, Iran.

2 Agricultural Engineering Research Department, Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center of Semnan Province (Shahrood), AREEO, Shahrood, Iran.


Introduction. Apricot is a soft fruit that normally does not have any resistance to transportation and storage conditions. In addition, apricots are climacteric fruits, produces high levels of ethylene during ripening process and have a high respiration rate. For this reason, they are very susceptible to physiological and microbial spoilage and have a very short shelf life. Thus, it is difficult to export this product with good quality and low waste or it is very limited. Application of edible coatings could increase the storability of apricots and delay their spoilage. Edible coatings cover the surface of the fruit and function as a barrier against water vapor, respiration gasses, and microorganisms. The effect of different natural polymers as edible coatings on the quality and shelf life of different fruits has been investigated by many researchers. Chitosan has been used in the formulation of edible coatings to extend the shelf life of citrus, papaya, strawberries and grapes (Arnon et al. 2014; Ali et al. 2011; mehrzad et al. 2011; Mostofi et al. 2011). Apples coated with whey protein concentrate showed more lightness compared with non-coated ones (Perez-Gago et al. 2006). In most studies, the effects of single edible coatings on the quality of fruits have been studied. In this research the quantitative and qualitative changes during ripening and cold storage of apricots coated with different formulations of whey protein concentrate, sodium alginate and chitosan were studied.

Materials and methods "Rajabali" variety apricots were picked up at optimum maturity and damaged ones were separated. Edible coating solutions were prepared by dissolving different amounts of whey protein concentrate, sodium alginate and chitosan in to distilled water. Glycerol was used as plasticizer. The apricots were dipped in the prepared solutions with different concentrations for at least five minutes. Then they were stored for 35 days at 2°C. Some quantitative and qualitative characteristics of coated apricots, such as weight loss, acidity, color, texture, shrinkage, browning reactions, vitamin C, and microbial load were determined after 0 and 35 days of storage. The results were analyzed by response surface methodology based on central composite design with five replications at the central point.

Results & discussion. The statistical analysis of the results by central composite design (CCD) indicated that the different concentrations of whey protein did not have any significant effect on weight loss during storage. The weight loss decreased as the concentration of sodium alginate and chitosan increased. Chitosan and sodium alginate had an important role in maintaining firmness. The firmness of apricots were highest at the upper limit of sodium alginate (1%) and chitosan concentrations (2%). The b* (yellowness) and L* (lightness) values of the apricots were increased as the concentration of chitosan was increased and the concentration of sodium alginate decreased. No significant difference was observed between the a* values (redness) of apricots treated with different coatings. In addition, the acidity of the apricots was increased by increasing the concentration of chitosan and decreased by increasing the concentration of sodium alginate. Browning of the coated fruits was also increased as the concentration of chitosan was increased to 1%. Increasing the concentration of sodium alginate increased the shrinkage of the apricots at low concentrations of whey protein concentrate and decreased it at high concentrations of whey protein concentrate. It was also shown that increasing concentrations of chitosan would reduce microbial load. The optimization of the formulations with Design Expert software showed that the best formulation of edible coating for preserving apricots was 1.45% of chitosan, 1.25% of alginate, and 0 percent for Whey protein concentrate.