Prolonging Shelf Life of Cut Produce
Plant geneticists at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service may have found ways to prolong the shelf life of fresh-cut peppers and lettuces in supermarkets. One group of researchers looked at 50 pepper types to identify varieties of each less prone to fluid leakage after cutting. The results provide opportunities for plant breeders, via traditional breeding, to incorporate attributes that contribute to fresh-cut quality.
Other ARS scientists reported finding several genetic markers that will allow lettuce breeders to prolong the shelf life of salad-cut lettuce. Lettuce with a gene that results in rapid decay becomes unusable in one to two weeks; in contrast, lettuce with a slow decay gene lasted one month or longer.