BACKGROUND : The perishability of Brassica chinensis poses a major challenge to
distribution and marketing. The aim of this work was to select a suitable modified
atmosphere packaging to retain the overall quality and bioactive compounds during storage. RESULTS : Four types of biorientated polypropylene packaging (BOPP) – BOPP03, BOPP04, BOPP05 and BOPP06 – with different perforations were evaluated regarding the maintenance of quality parameters (weight loss, leaf yellowing, colour L*, C*, h°), decay, chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, bioactive compounds (carotenoids, ascorbic acid, total phenolic compounds), antioxidant scavenging activity, overall appearance and odour evaluation, at 10°C at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 days. Leaves were packed in BOPP (two 2-mm holes) and packed
and unpacked leaves were included for comparison. The modified atmosphere created (2% O2 and 7% CO2) inside the BOPP05 reduced leaf yellowing (higher h°), improved the overall appearance with acceptable odour, moderately maintained chlorophyll a and b, bioactive compounds and antioxidant scavenging activity, and remained marketable for up to 10 days at 10°C. Gas composition within the packages influenced the retention of bioactive compounds and overall quality.
CONCLUSION : Application of BOPP05 is a promising method for extending the shelf life of B. chinensis leaves in order to promote its utilisation and commercialisation via urban fresh-produce markets.