Date of this Version
2020 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Use of fungicides is a common practice as a postharvest treatment to control fruit decay. Nowadays, environment-friendly technologies, such as heat treatments, are viable replacements. This study evaluated the effects of post-harvest heat treatments (traditional and microwave-assisted) on mandarins intentionally inoculated with Penicillium digitatum. For the studied heat treatments, the target temperature was 50C, which was held for 2.5 min. After heating, mandarins were cooled and stored at 25C for 13 days. MW treatments effectively prevented mold growth during storage, while HW only delayed it. Control mandarins (without treatment) showed the highest significant weight loss. Neither thermal treatment nor storage affected fruit juice pH (p > 0.05). Treated mandarins had a significantly lower vitamin C content than control fruits throughout storage, and all mandarins lost firmness by the 13th day (p < 0.05). Control and MW-treated mandarins had lower citric acid content; however, they retained color, total soluble solids (TSS) and had a higher maturity index. While HW mandarins did not have changes in citric acid content, they had higher TSS, and lower maturity index. MW-assisted treatments were effective at inactivating molds and helped retain some nutritional and physical-chemical characteristics of mandarins. However, juice of MW-treated mandarins was not preferred by judges in the sensory tests, the juice was rated lower than that obtained from the other treatment. Postharvest heat treatments may constitute a helpful application to control mandarin’ fungal decay.