In view of understanding the stability of sterilized ‘Cara Cara’ juice during storage, the changes of specific quality parameters (flavonoid, carotenoid, vitamin C, soluble sugar and antioxidant activities) of ‘Cara Cara’ juice were systematically investigated over the course of 16 weeks in storage at 4, 20, 30 and 40 °C. Total flavonoid and carotenoid indexes showed slight degradation at each temperature, while vitamin C and soluble sugar degraded intensively, especially at 40 °C storage with a great amount of HMF (5-hydroxymethylfurfural) accumulated. There were 29 carotenoids detected during storage, including carotenes and carotenoid esters. Carotenes were kept stable, while the degradations of carotenoid esters were fitted by biexponential function. Carotenoid ester group 2 contained epoxy structures that quickly decreased in the first four weeks at all storage temperatures, while the ester group 1 (belonged to β-cryptoxanthin ester) was degraded gradually. The 13- or 15-cis-lycopene, isomerized from all-(trans)-lycopene, increased with storage time at each temperature. Total flavonoid and carotenoid indexes in stored ‘Cara Cara’ juice were positively correlated with hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidant abilities.
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