Madureira, J., Severino, A., Cojocarus, M., Garofalide, S., Santos, P.M.P., Carolino, M.M. & Margaça, F.M.A. (2019) S. E-beam treatment to guarantee the safety and quality of cherry tomatões.Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, 55, 57-65. DOI:10.1016/j.ifset.2019.05.013 (IF2019 4,477; Q1 Food Science & Technology)
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of electron beam treatment on microbiological parameters and bioactive content of cherry tomatoes in order to assess the feasibility of irradiation as a post-harvest treatment for this fruit. E-beam inactivation studies of natural cherry tomatoes microbiota and inoculated potential foodborne pathogens (Salmonella enterica; Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes) were performed before and after irradiation and at a storage time of 14 days at 4 °C. A 4 log reduction on mesophilic bacterial population, and no detection of filamentous fungi and foodborne inoculated pathogens was achieved after e-beam treatment at 3.6 kGy and storage. Regarding the effects on bioactive content, the achieved data suggested that an e-beam treatment at 3 kGy could preserve the lycopene content and the antioxidant activity of cherry tomatoes extracts, but the storage time is a determinant factor on its bioactivity. Moreover, the results indicated an antiproliferative effect on human lung cancer cells of lycopene extracts from irradiated and stored cherry tomatoes and no cytotoxicity on human non-cancer cells. Overall the results of this comprehensive study support the feasibility of e-beam irradiation as post-harvest treatment of cherry tomatoes.
Tomatoes constitute the predominant source of lycopene, a bright red carotenoid pigment that has been associated with the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The increasing attraction and growing need for functional or bioactive foods, highlight the potential of crops and its bioactive compounds to serve as safe and effective preventive and therapeutic agents. Therefore, food may evolve to be considered a vital aspect of dietary-disease prevention. The development of food processing technologies that extend the shelf-life while guaranty or improve the food safety and functionality, will have a positive impact on both the industry and consumers. As an extension of a previous study, the present research indicated that post-harvest e-beam treatment of cherry tomatoes can be used as an emergent, clean and environmental friendly process to extend the shelf-life of this fruit with safety and preserving its bioactivity.