High hydrostatic pressure processing as a strategy to increase carotenoid contents of tropical fruits
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Avocado (Persea americana), papaya (Carica papaya cv. Maradol) and mango (Mangifera indica L.) contain high levels of carotenoid molecules that protect human cells against the detrimental effects of reactive oxygen species, among other bioactive compounds. High hydrostatic pressure (HHP) processing is an effective non-thermal alternative to stabilize tropical fruit pulps due to retention of flavor and desirable sensory characteristics. Moreover, certain HHP treated fruits and vegetables products show higher concentrations of extractable carotenoids than their corresponding fresh product unprocessed samples. Chapter objectives were to evaluate the HHP processing stability of carotenoids from avocado, papaya and mango pulps. HHP processing (600 MPa/3 min) caused an increase in total carotenoid concentrations (~56%) for avocado pulp. Papaya pulps also contained higher levels of precursors (215%), xanthophylls (219%) and carotenes (164%) while mango carotenoids remained unchanged. Higher concentrations of extractable carotenoids have been attributed to possible changes in the permeability of cells and chloroplast membranes induced by HHP processing. Likewise, it has been reported that HHP application causes oxidative stress within plant tissues, and RNA molecules remain intact in pressurized samples suggesting that the cells are metabolically active and biosynthesizing plant cell antioxidants. © 2013 American Chemical Society.