TECHNOLOGY OF FRESH HERBS STORAGE USING HYDROGEL AND ANTIOXIDANT COMPOSITION

Olesia PRISS, Viktoria YEVLASH

Abstract

There is a stable consumer demand for fresh culinary herbs. Also, the greenery contains a large number of valuable phytonutrients. Despite high efficiency and increasing annual production of fresh herbs, the problem of preserving their quality in the post-harvest period remains unresolved. Because of the high specific surface area of evaporation, in the green crops droop quickly, they lose their marketable quality, and, as a result, the level of profitability of greenery production in general is being reduced. It is necessary to use new effective approaches to leafy greens storage in order to reduce product losses during transportation and storage. For example, agrarian hydrogel can be used for storage of greenery. Hydrogel is an acrylic potassium polymer that is non-toxic and has a high environmental standard. The hydrogel granules can absorb up to 250 times more moisture than their weight. We propose the following procedure as the method of greenery preservation: the greens are packed in bundles and put in sticks in polyethylene bags with a fastener, pre-filled with hydrogel solutions. The storage temperature is maintained optimally for each species of fresh herbs, the relative humidity is 95 ± 3%. Usage of the proposed method allows obtaining environment-friendly products, preserving their high biological value and increasing the shelf life. The accumulation of peroxide products, which cause physiological disorders, is inhibited as the result of such storage. The use of hydrogel reduces the natural loss of mass by 10% as compared with the control. Duration of greenery storage increases by 30 days.

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