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Identifying traits to improve postharvest processability in baby leaf salad

Clarkson, Graham J.J., O'Byrne, Eleanor E., Rothwell, Steve D. and Taylor, Gail (2003) Identifying traits to improve postharvest processability in baby leaf salad Postharvest Biology and Technology, 30, (3), pp. 287-298. (doi:10.1016/S0925-5214(03)00110-8).

Record type: Article


The ‘processability’ of baby salad leaves may be defined as the ability to withstand the postharvest washing and packing processes that are involved in the production of ready-to-eat bagged salads. The inability of baby salad leaves (species including Lactuca sativa L. and Spinacia oleracea L.) to withstand processing results in a reduction in crop shelf-life. Leaves from geographically diverse locations displayed strikingly different processability scores from visual inspection. We have shown that these ‘good’ and ‘poor’ quality leaves may be differentiated from assessments of the biophysical properties of the cell wall (% plasticity) and epidermal cell size. Artificial manipulation of processability in the glasshouse through the application of a mechanical stress or a high salt stress produced L. sativa cv. Ravita (a leaf type ‘lollo rosso’ lettuce) leaves covering a range of processability. Mechanical stress, applied as a daily dose of 100 paper strokes, increased lettuce leaf shelf-life by 33% and was associated with reduced % plasticity and smaller leaf epidermal cells. These traits are thus proposed to be of key importance in the description of processability, with the plant cell wall and plant cell wall gene expression implicated. The potential for future manipulation of these traits for the pre-packed salad market is considered.

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Published date: December 2003
Keywords: baby salad, cell wall extensibility, cell size, leaf physiology, processability, shelf-life


Local EPrints ID: 56278
ISSN: 0925-5214
PURE UUID: 1260f565-0dc3-4633-af8b-af514c011adf

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Date deposited: 11 Aug 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:31

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Author: Graham J.J. Clarkson
Author: Eleanor E. O'Byrne
Author: Steve D. Rothwell
Author: Gail Taylor

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