University of California

Ask the Produce Docs (General)

Reducing juice leakage in fresh-cut fruit

Category
  • Fresh-cut Fruits & Vegetables
Question

As a manufacturer of fresh-cut products we experience tremendous water loss in our products, especially melons and pineapples. How can we minimize this loss?

Answer

Water loss from fresh cut fruits results in liquid form (due to juice leakage from the vacuoles of the damaged cells) and in vapor form (due to vapor pressure difference between the cells and their microenvironment within the package). Juice leakage can be reduced by using firm fruits, by using sharp knives to reduce cell damage upon cutting, and by minimizing mechanical damage caused by compression and vibration during packaging and subsequent handling. Immobilizing the fruit pieces within the package can help in reducing juice leakage due to vibration. Water vapor loss from the fruit tissue can be minimized by proper packaging to provide a barrier and most importantly by cooling the product to 5C (41F) or lower and by maintaining such temperatures plus a relative humidity of 95%or higher during handling. Since all the cells are connected, water can move from one cell to another and consequently once the outer layer of cells loses water, water will move from the adjacent layer of cells to the outer layer to the outside of the tissue, and so on. --Adel Kader

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