Background: Watermelon juice has gained increasing popularity among consumers as a rich natural source of functional compounds such as lycopene and citrulline. However, the final quality of the juice depends significantly on its acidification, pasteurization, centrifugation and storage time and temperature. In this study, these characteristics were assessed in watermelon juice pasteurized at 87.7 °C for 20 s and stored for up to 30 days at 4 or 8 °C.
Results: The acidifier citric acid provided an adequate sensory quality, similar to natural watermelon juice. Centrifugation and pasteurization significantly reduced the red color, bioactive compounds (lycopene, antioxidant capacity and total polyphenols) and sensory quality of the juice, particularly when the storage time was extended and a temperature of 8 °C was used (P ≤ 0.05). All treated juices were microbiologically safe for up to 30 days when stored at 4 or 8 °C. In terms of sensory acceptability, only non-centrifuged juices stored for up to 20 days at 4 °C remained above the commercial limit.
Conclusion: The present results suggest that using a non-centrifugation process and a storage temperature of 4 °C yields a watermelon juice that better retains its sensory and functional qualities.
Keywords: Citrullus lanatus; beverage; bioactive compounds; lycopene; total antioxidant capacity.
© 2013 Society of Chemical Industry.