A Group of IPB Researchers: The Utilization of this Technology Will Maintain the Quality of Organic Spinach

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is an edible flowering plant in the family Amaranthaceae native to central and western Asia. Its leaves are eaten as a vegetable. Aside from transpiration, respiration is undoubtedly the most important factor contributing to the deterioration of vegetables after harvest. Once harvested, the vegetables will continue to decline in quality in line with the storage period due to the respiration that remodel components in the vegetables. Shelf life and quality of fresh-cut produce may be greatly reduced due to high rates of respiration. Traditional packaging and handling techniques reduce the shelf life and sensory quality of fresh-cut spinach. Spinach is a vegetable with high respiration rate reaches 40-70 mL CO2 / kg-h so it is susceptible to degradation. The quality of organic spinach that has been produced in the field becomes useless if it is not maintained with appropriate postharvest handling.

Emmy Darmawati, Researcher of Bogor Agricultural University explained that post-harvest handling of organic vegetables should minimize the use of chemicals. "Postharvest handling without using chemicals, but utilizing physical handling such as hydrocooling applications and heat shock. Physical handling can have a drastic effect on the postharvest quality and shelf life of most harvested fruits and vegetables. This technology is easy to be applied by farmers because the method used is soaking in cold water or hot water for a certain time," she said.

She and other researchers, Dini Nur Hakiki, Y.Aris Purwanto from IPB, together with Ueno Hideto and YoToma of Ehime University, Japan, have been carrying out research program to analyse the quality changes in postharvest handling of organic spinach after heat shock and hydrocooling treatment.

Hydrocooling is an especially fast and effective way to cool produce. With modern technology, hydrocooling has now become a convenient and attractive method of postharvest cooling on a large scale. Hydrocooling technology is done by soaking the spinach in cold water at a temperature of 3-5 degrees Celsius for five minutes while heat shock technology is done by immersing in warm water at a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius for 3.5 minutes. Spinach then were stored at a temperature at 70 C  for seven days. The quality changes during storage processes were observed, that included colour, chlorophyll content and total antioxidants. Spinach as a source of carotenoids, folate and  antioxidant activity.

Based on such experiment, the researchers revealed that postharvest treatment using by hydrocooling and heat shock can maintain chlorophyll significantly. Heat shock was better than hydrocooling to maintain chlorophyll. while for other quality variables such as ascorbic acid, total dissolved solids, and total antioxidants statistically did not show significant differences with controls. Freshness of the leaves shown by the colour of chlorophyll, these variables influence green food purchase intention of the consumers to buy spinach. (Wied)

Published Date : 13-Mar-2018

Resource Person : Dini Nur Hakiki, Y.Aris Purwanto

Keyword : A Group of IPB Researchers: The Utilization of this Technology Will Maintain the Quality of Organic Spinach