Microbial Quality of Iceberg Lettuce is Affected by Moisture at Harvest - 2nd Year Evaluation
AffiliationThe University of Arizona - Yuma Agricultural Center
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AbstractIn a continuing work, the effect of moisture conditions on yield and microbial quality of Iceberg lettuce was investigated. Iceberg lettuce cv. Sahara grown at the University of Arizona Yuma Agricultural Center was evaluated for yield, microbial population and postharvest quality either following different irrigation termination schedules or before/after a rainfall event. We report here microbial population data with treatments including early (16 days before harvest), middle (8 days before harvest) and late (4 days before harvest) irrigation termination. Lettuce receiving the last irrigation 4 days before harvest showed increased weight but had higher microbial population than other treatments. The effect of moisture prior to harvest on quality was further evaluated with lettuce harvested before and after a rainfall event. Increased aerobic bacteria population of over 1 log CFU/g for outer leaves and over 2 log CFU/g for head leaves was observed after rain. The results from this study suggest that managing moisture conditions at harvest is important to enhance quality of lettuce.
Series/Report no.Series P-144