Fruits can be easily infected and damaged by microbes. Cold storage is a popular approach used to extend the shelf-life of fruits. In this paper, the effect of caffeic acid on physiological parameters and shelf-life of mulberries (Morus alba L.) stored for 21 days at 4°C was evaluated. The results showed that the shelf-life was significantly improved in the mulberries treated with the different concentrations of caffeic acid solution for 5 min (P < 0.05). Certain physiological parameters, like phenolics, anthocyanins, flavonoids and Vitamin C were also significantly increased (P < 0.05) in the treated mulberries. The results showed that the rotting rate and the weight loss ratio were 47.0 and 6.6% in the 0.20 g/L caffeic acid-treated fruits after storing for 21 days at 4°C, respectively. While these two parameters were 79.0 and 9.7% in the control. The malondialdehyde (MDA) content was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in the 0.20 g/L caffeic acid-treated mulberries than that in the samples treated with 0.00, 0.10, 0.25 and 0.30 g/L caffeic acid. Moreover, the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging activities in the caffeic acid treated mulberries were significantly higher than those in the control (P < 0.05). Therefore, caffeic acid, as a preservative, is favorable for elongation of the shelf-life, maintenance of the quality and inhibition of fruit decay in mulberries. This study is greatly informative to mulberry growers and commercial sellers.
Key words: Caffeic acid, mulberry fruits, cold storage, postharvest quality.
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