This study evaluated the effect of antioxidant application on quality and physiological aspects of minimally-processed escarole (Cichorium endivia
L.) stored at 0 °C and 90–95% relative humidity for 21 d. After minimal processing, leaves were immersed for 5 min in the following solutions: deionized water-control (CT), 1% ascorbic acid (AA), 1% citric acid (CA), 1% oxalic acid (OA), and 2% ethylenediamine-tetraacetic acid (EDTA). Excess water was removed and they were then packed in trays of expanded polystyrene and stored at 0 °C and 90–95% relative humidity for 21 d. Analyses were performed on day 0, after 1 h of processing, and then at intervals of 3 d. The 1% CA treatment maintained the highest levels of endogenous ascorbic acid and pigment content, as well as the lowest values of weight loss and Browning Index (BI). Microbiological development was within the limits established during storage for all treatments. Total phenolic compound content and the activity of polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase enzymes showed variations among treatments. Observing all results, it was concluded that 1% CA was the best antioxidant for the maintenance of the quality attributes of minimally-processed escarole for up to 21 d in cold storage at 0 °C.
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