Background: During storage, frozen fruit may be thawed and refrozen many times before consumption, which may be extremely damaging to the texture of the frozen fruit and reverse the advantage of fast freezing. The effects of freezing and thawing on texture, microstructure and cell wall composition changes in papaya tissues were investigated.
Results: The frozen-thawed papayas had an increase in drip loss and a decrease in firmness with increasing number of freeze-thaw cycles. Light microscopy showed irregular shapes and cell damage in parenchyma cells of frozen-thawed papayas, whereas transmission electron microscopy showed loss of cell wall materials in middle lamella. Moreover, destruction of cell wall was observed after being subjected to five freeze-thaw cycles. These changes related with a significant decrease in alcohol-insoluble solids, Na₂CO₃- and 24% KOH-soluble fractions and an increase in the water-, EDTA- and 4% KOH-soluble fractions. This was due to a decrease in the molecular mass of pectic and hemicellulosic polymers in frozen-thawed papayas using high-performance size-exclusion chromatography.
Conclusion: The freezing and thawing processes caused fine structural damage and cell wall composition changes which contributed to a loss of drip volume and firmness of papaya tissues.
Keywords: cell wall; freezing; microstructure; papaya; thawing.
© 2013 Society of Chemical Industry.