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Laser etching safe alternative for labeling grapefruit
Date:11/3/2009

that would allow for increased water loss and facilitating the entrance of decay organisms. These etched surfaces can promote water loss and may increase the number of entry sites for decay-promoting organisms", the researchers said.

'Red Ruby' grapefruit that had been washed and waxed with carnuba containing 15 ppm thiabendazole (following established commercial practices) was used in the study. Water loss from etched surfaces was measured, and the effect of waxing on reducing water loss from etched fruit surfaces was investigated using nine different waxes. Laser-labeled fruit stored at 10 C and two relative humidities (95% and 65%) for 5 weeks showed no increase in decay compared with nonetched control fruit, suggesting that laser labeling does not facilitate decay. This was confirmed by experiments where Penicillium digitatum spores were coated on fruit surfaces before and after etching. In either case, no decay was observed.

The researchers concluded that, when compared with sticker-labeled fruit, laser etching provides a relatively tamper-free labeling method, while "the fruit quality remains high as the invasion of the epidermis does not incite decay, provide an avenue for food pathogens, and water loss is easily controlled. The technology will offer the grapefruit industry a safe alternative to adhesive sticker labeling without enhancing decay susceptibility."


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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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