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Products: Dates
Subject: Food Technology

Impact of Modified Atmosphere Packaging Conditions on Quality of Dates: Experimental Study and Predictive Analysis Using Artificial Neural Networks

Authors: Ahmed, A. R., Aleid, S. M., & Mohammed, M.
  • Journals: Foods.
  • Pages: 3811
  • Volume: 12(20)
  • Year: 2023
Dates are highly perishable fruits, and maintaining their quality during storage is crucial. The current study aims to investigate the impact of storage conditions on the quality of dates (Khalas and Sukary cultivars) at the Tamer stage and predict their quality attributes during storage using artificial neural networks (ANN). The studied storage conditions were the modified atmosphere packing (MAP) gases (CO2, O2, and N), packaging materials, storage temperature, and storage time, and the evaluated quality attributes were moisture content, firmness, color parameters (L*, a*, b*, and ∆E), pH, water activity, total soluble solids, and microbial contamination. The findings demonstrated that the storage conditions significantly impacted (p < 0.05) the quality of the two stored date cultivars. The use of MAP with 20% CO2 + 80% N had a high potential to decrease the rate of color transformation and microbial growth of dates stored at 4 °C for both stored date cultivars. The developed ANN models efficiently predicted the quality changes of stored dates closely aligned with observed values under the different storage conditions, as evidenced by low Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) and Mean Absolute Percentage Error (MAPE) values. In addition, the reliability of the developed ANN models was further affirmed by the linear regression between predicted and measured values, which closely follow the 1:1 line, with R2 values ranging from 0.766 to 0.980, the ANN models demonstrate accurate estimating of fruit quality attributes. The study's findings contribute to food quality and supply chain management through the identification of optimal storage conditions and predicting the fruit quality during storage under different atmosphere conditions, thereby minimizing food waste and enhancing food safety.