The desirability of minimally processed products makes the prickly pear (Opuntia ficus indica (L.) Mill) an option for this market. The aim of this work was to verify the effects of storage temperatures and packaging on the conservation of minimally processed prickly pear. Ripe fruits with greenish exterior were used, and after peeling and sanitization were placed into one of the following storage methods: (1) Transparent polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging with lid; (2) Plastic coating PD 900®; (3) Polyvinyl chloride layer coating layer coating of 11 µm, or (4) 14 µm thickness. The units were stored for 12 days in refrigerated chambers at 3±1°C and 80±2.5% RH, or at 6±1°C and 70±2.5% RH. Analysis of fresh mass loss, CO2 rate, luminosity, chromaticity, soluble solid content, titratable acidity, carotenoids, and sensory analysis for appearance and color were performed every three days. The PET packaging with lid, associated with storage at 3ºC, promoted the best results for quality maintenance of minimally processed prickly pears for up to twelve days.
Key words: Carotenoids, minimal processing, Opuntia ficus indica (L.) Mill, postharvest, quality.
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