Controlled-atmosphere effects on postharvest quality and antioxidant activity of cranberry fruits

Gurbuz Gunes, Rui Hai Liu, Christopher B. Watkins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


The effects of controlled-atmosphere (CA) storage on the firmness, respiration rate, quality, weight loss, total phenolics and flavonoids contents, and total antioxidant activities of the Pilgrim and Stevens cultivars of cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton) have been studied during storage in atmospheres of 2, 21, and 70% O2 with 0, 15, and 30% CO2 (balance N2); and 100% N2 at 3 °C. Elevated CO2 concentrations decreased bruising, physiological breakdown, and decay of berries, thereby reducing fruit losses. Respiration and weight loss of fruits decreased, but fruit softening increased, at higher CO2 concentrations. Accumulations of acetaldehyde, ethanol, and ethyl acetate varied by cultivar and storage atmosphere but were generally highest in the 2 and 70% O2 and 100% N2 atmospheres and increased in response to elevated CO2 concentrations. Overall, the 30% CO2 plus 21% O2 atmosphere appeared optimal for the storage of cranberries. Sensory analysis is required, however, to confirm that accumulations of fermentation products at this atmosphere are acceptable for consumers. Stevens fruits had a higher phenolics content and total antioxidant activity than Pilgrim fruits. The storage atmosphere did not affect the content of total phenolics or flavonoids. However, the total antioxidant activity of the fruits increased overall by about 45% in fruits stored in air. This increase was prevented by storage in 30% CO2 plus 21% O2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5932-5938
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2002


  • Antioxidants
  • Controlled atmosphere
  • Cranberry
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenolics
  • Vaccinium macrocarpon Alton


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