Postharvest conservation of minimally processed cassava roots subjected to different packaging systems
Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is one of the main energy sources in human food, being largely consumed and produced in Brazil. However, it is not easy to prepare and has a high deterioration degree after harvest. As an alternative, producers and agribusinesses are extensively using vacuum packaging for the storage of minimally processed cassava roots. This study evaluates the postharvest conservation of minimally processed cassava roots packed in 130 μm, 200 μm, and 300 μm LDPE packages with and without vacuum, stored at 3 °C and 90% relative humidity. Samples were evaluated every seven days for a period of 28 days for pH, titratable acidity, soluble solids, SS/TA ratio, texture, fresh weight loss, moisture, dry matter, cooking time, color (L*, a*, b*, increase in browning, chroma, and hue angle), and microbiology (counting mesophilic aerobes, psychrotrophic aerobes, molds and yeasts, total and thermotolerant coliforms). Minimally processed cassava roots packed in LDPE packages with higher thickness (200 μm and 300 μm) show greater stability in physicochemical and microbiological components. For packages 200 μm vacuum LDPE and 300 μm LDPE in the two atmosphere conditions, stored at 3 ºC and 90% relative humidity, the shelf life of minimally processed cassava roots was 14 days. The recommended storage period for the remaining treatments is seven days.