Fruit and Vegetables
Department of Quality Assurance & Food Safety, Granarolo S.p.A., Bologna, Italy
An increase of the per capita intake of fruit and vegetables (FF&VV) is still today a major objective of public health policy. Healthy properties are strictly linked to the micronutrients (vitamins, carotenoids, and phenolics) composition of FF&VV, depending on cultivar/variety, grade of ripening, post-harvest treatments, and processing conditions. The aim of scientific research has been to preserve nutritional properties of FF&VV from the crop to the consumption, trying at the same time to avoid food spoilage by using heat treatments and/or modified atmosphere conditions. Loss of nutritional properties is generally linked to the intensity of the heat treatment, which is applied to the food matrix; anyway, in some cases thermal treatments can induce the formation of compounds with new antioxidant properties. This is the case of the Maillard reaction products (MRPs), whose presence as well as their potential effects have been scarcely investigated (Brunton and Patras 2012; Nicoli et al., 1997).