September 24, 2015

Contact: AnnMarie Cornejo

Cal Poly Breakthrough Prevents Browning, Microbial Growth on Fresh-Cut Produce

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — A Cal Poly team has developed an anti-browning formula to prevent enzymatic browning that affects the aesthetic quality of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. The product also significantly reduces the growth of aerobic bacteria, yeasts and molds.

Cal Poly was granted a U.S. patent for the formula in June and is activity seeking licenses to commercialize it.

Professor Wyatt Brown and his team in the Horticulture & Crop Science Department in the College of College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences conducted more than 400 tests over four years to create the formula. 

“We believe the formula will enable products to be marketed for a longer period of time, and help reduce the incidence of food-borne illness,” Brown said.

The multifunctional formula is an alternative to current anti-browning methods that focus solely on the appearance of food products. In addition, the formula is effective in ambient conditions -- special packaging is not required.

The anti-browning formula combines calcium ascorbate, calcium propionate and calcium chloride.

When applied to pre-cut Granny Smith and Fuji apples, the formula prevented browning and the growth of aerobic bacteria, yeasts and molds for a minimum of 21 days. It has also proven to be highly effective at preventing the browning of other sliced fruits and vegetables.

About Professor J. Wyatt Brown, Ph.D.

Brown is a professor and assistant department head at Cal Poly’s Horticulture & Crop Science Department, where he has taught for 25 years. He teaches Postharvest Technology of Horticulture Crops, Introduction to Vegetable Science, and California Vegetable Production. His research centers on pre-cut fruits and vegetables, plastics and modified-atmosphere packaging. Brown was named the 2013-14 Outstanding Faculty Researcher by the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences and a 2014-15 University Distinguished Scholar. He is the faculty advisor for Cal Poly's anime club, Minna no Anime.

About Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences
Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, comprehensive polytechnic university. The university’s College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences is comprised of expert faculty members who take pride in their ability to transform academically motivated students into innovative students ready to solve the complex challenges associated with feeding the world in sustainable ways. Students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories, including ranchland, orchards, vineyards and forests, all of which provide the basis for Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing methodology.

# # #