The effects of washing treatment on antioxidant retention in ready-to-use iceberg lettuce

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The influence of washing treatment on the retention of key antioxidants in minimally processed iceberg lettuce was examined. Shredded iceberg lettuce was subjected to one of three washing treatments: a domestic wash (tap-rinsed), immersion in distilled water (water-dipped) or immersion in chlorinated water (chlorine-dipped). Lettuce was subsequently packed in oriented polypropylene bags and flushed with 100% nitrogen and stored at 4 °C. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid and dehydroascorbic acid), total phenols, total antioxidants, individual phenols, individual carotenoids, colour measurements and pH were quantified on production day and throughout the storage period (8 days). Different groups of antioxidants were found to differ in their response to washing treatments. No significant (P > 0.05) effects of washing treatment were observed on total antioxidant activity, total phenolics and on the levels of individual phenolics (chicoric acid, chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid). Individual carotenoids were initially affected by washing treatment, with higher levels of lutein and beta-carotene retained with domestic washed lettuce. Ascorbic acid was the antioxidant most affected by washing treatments with domestic washing resulting in significantly (P ≤ 0.05) higher retention of ascorbic acid throughout the storage period compared with the chlorine-dipped lettuce.

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