Physicochemical, Microbial and Organoleptic Evaluation of Scalded Lycopersicon Esculentum Stored In Brine and Natural Spice Extracts
Post-harvest storage of Lycopersicon esculentum(Mill) has been an issue due to its perishable nature. Fifty to eighty per cent (50%-80%) are lost between harvest and consumption leading to unavailability all round the year. Canning in Nigeria and other developing world is expensive and there is a need for a simple and affordable process to preserve L. esculentum. Scalded Roma cultivar were stored in brine with food grade citric acid and a combination of 0.3%w/v Thymus vulgaris, 0.3%w/v Allium sativum, 0.3%w/v Zingiber officinale, 0.15%w/vEugenia aromatica in plastic jars and stored at at an average temperature of 27oC±3oC and relative humidity of 85% ± 5% for a period of six months. Physicochemical tests including Total Soluble Sugars (TSS), pH, microbial and organoleptic assessment were carried out during the storage period. Results obtained showed that pH and TSS of brine stored treatment decreased from an initial value 4.0 to 3.6 and 5.0% Brix to 1.90%Brix respectively. Similar trend was also observed in natural spice treated sample. This decrease was statistically significant (p<0.05) though they were within the recommended limits. Microbial evaluation did not reveal the presence of E. coli, yeasts and moulds. Organoleptic assessment was above the cut-off point of 3 with regard to the initial. The result of the study showed that the storage of L. esculentum in either brine or natural spice is good method of preservation which makes the produce available all year round. It is cost effective, simple and environmentally friendly. Also, it would increase earnings of L. esculentum farmers and processors.