chapter  1
- Ultraviolet Light for Processing Fruits and Fruit Products
Pages 36

During the last decade, there has been an increase in the production of fresh fruit and fruit products due to the health properties of fruits. Fruit products can be consumed in raw, minimally processed or processed, ready-to-eat/ready-to-drink forms as whole fresh fruits, fresh-cut fruits, and fruits as ingredients, beverages, juices, and jams. The processing of fruits starts after harvesting and consists of four activities: stabilization or preservation, transformation, production of ingredients, and production of fabricated foods. The role of processing technology in each stage implies the control of microbiological, chemical, and biochemical changes, which occur as a result of microbial and enzymatic activities, and oxidation reactions, which can lead to problems of safety, color, ˜avor, taste, and texture. Processing technologies that do not signi’cantly alter the organoleptic or nutritional qualities of fruits and do not form any undesirable chemical compounds in the product have obvious advantages in modern food production. The interest in so-called minimal processing technologies led to the development of nonthermal or mild heat high-tech methods that have the potential to replace traditional thermal preservation techniques. They result not only in better quality and longer shelf life but also, potentially, in higher nutritional value or products with health bene’ts. A large number of studies have associated consumption of fruits and their products with decreased risk of development of diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease (Hansen et al., 2003). This may be due to the presence of health-promoting phytochemicals such as carotenoids, ˜avonoids, phenolic compounds, and vitamins (Gardner et al., 2000), which have, in some cases, been shown to have disease-preventing properties. In this respect, it is of paramount importance to develop processing methods that preserve not only the safety of fruits but also the sensorial and nutritional quality and bioactivity of the constituents present in fruits and their products.