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Pui Yeu Phoon, Federico Gómez Galindo , António Vicente, Petr Dejmek. Food Engineering, Lund University, Sweden; Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centro de Engenharia Biológica, Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal.

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Pui Yeu Phoon, Federico Gómez Galindo, António Vicente, Petr Dejmek

Food Engineering, Lund University, Sweden; Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centro de Engenharia Biológica, Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal

Pulsed Electric Field in Combination with Vacuum Impregnation with Trehalose Improves the Freezing Tolerance of Spinach Leaves

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We have used Pulsed Electric Fields (PEF) in combination with Vacuum Impregnation (VI) to obtain a cryoprotectant solution inside the cells of spinach leaves, showing a substantial improvement of their freezing tolerance.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

1. Rectangular samples, 3.0 cm long, 0.5 cm wide and

0.06 cm thick, were cut from the spinach leaves using a

sharp blade. The rectangular samples were placed in between

two flat stainless steel electrodes (36 mm long and 9 mm wide)

were they received electric pulses at room temperature.

2. Ten trains of bi-polar, rectangular electric field

pulses with a nominal electric field strength of 580 V/cm

were used. (Figure 1).

3. The VI treatment was carried out at 20 C in a chamber

connected to a vacuum pump. The spinach samples were

immersed in a 40% (w/w) solution of trehalose. After the

impregnation, the samples were kept in the trehalose solution

for 2.5 h (relaxation time). The resting step was performed

by submerging the samples in deionised water overnight

at 4 C to regain turgor.

4. Spinach samples were treated with a combination of

PEF and VI prior to freezing and thawing. The various

procedures and their corresponding processing steps are

shown in Figure 2, where spinach leaves were treated with

and without PEF

Fig. 1. A simplified diagram of the PEF treatment design. Ten trains of bi-polar, rectangular electric field pulses with a nominal electric field strength of 580 V/cm were applied as described in the Section 2. Pulse characteristics are shown in the figure.

Fig. 2. A combination of treatments for improving the freezing tolerance of spinach leaves

RESULTS

DESCRIPTION: Left panel: Typical results (10measurements) from a wilting test, showing turgidity of the samples. Right panel: Typical results (10 measurements) from microscopic observations using fluorescein diacetate, to identify viable cells. Viable cells show bright fluorescence. (a) Fresh spinach leaf. (b) The leaf has been frozen in liquid nitrogen and immediately thawed in water at room temperature. (c) Spinach leaves subjected to “Process 1”, as described in Figure 2. (d) Spinach leaves subjected to “Process 2”, as described in Figure 2.

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(a)

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REMARK: The results presented here provide evidence that the impregnation of spinach leaves with the cryoprotectant trehalose for improving the freezing tolerance of spinach leaves can be achieved only if the VI process is used in combination with PEF

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