Effects of hot rehydration in the presence of hydrogen peroxide on microbial quality, texture, color, and antioxidant activity of cold-stored intermediate-moisture sun-dried figs
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Pectin methylesterase (PME) causes considerable softening in intermediate-moisture (IM) figs rehydrated at 30°C and cold stored at 28% to 29% moisture content. Rehydration of figs at 80°C for 16 min inactivated PME partially (25-30%), but this did not prevent the softening over 3 mo of cold storage. Also, heating did not reduce the microbial load of figs significantly and increased their browning. In contrast, rehydration of figs 1st in 2.5% H2O2 at 80°C for 8 min and then in water at 80°C for 8 min reduced the microbial load of IM figs significantly, turned their brown color to yellow-light brown, and maintained their desired textural properties. The residual H2O2 in IM figs decomposed in 3 or 1.5 wk by the in situ catalase or by application of the iron (II) sulfate-ascorbic acid residue elimination method, respectively. Hot rehydration did not affect the antioxidant activity of IM figs, but treatment of figs with H2O2 increased their antioxidant activity slightly. These results indicate that the hot rehydration of figs in the presence of H 2O2 and cold storage may be applied to obtain safe and SO2-free light-colored IM fig products.