Fresh-cut cucumbers are popular worldwide, but they are prone to spoilage due to tissue damage caused by processing. The effects of controlled atmosphere storage (CAS) at 3% O2 and 7% CO2 or 8% O2 and 2% CO2 on microorganisms and the quality of fresh-cut cucumbers (Cucumis sativus L. cv. Chinese Long) at 4°C and 90% relative humidity were investigated in this study. The results showed that compared with the control group, both controlled atmosphere treatments maintained chlorophyll concentration, appearance, and color of fresh-cut cucumbers effectively; inhibited respiration rate and polyphenoloxidase (PPO) and peroxidase (POD) activity; delayed the decrease in firmness and the increase in relative electrolyte leakage; and inhibited the growth of microorganisms on cucumbers during storage. On day 10, the chlorophyll concentration and firmness of cucumbers stored at 3% O2 and 7% CO2 was 1.15 and 1.04 times that of cucumbers stored at 8% O2 and 2% CO2, respectively. Respiration rate, relative electrolyte leakage, polyphenoloxidase activity, peroxidase activity, and levels of total bacteria, coliforms, and Pseudomonas spp. at 3% O2 and 7% CO2 were 19.79, 6.01, 5.45, 88.50, 18.07, 16.14, and 19.76% lower than at 8% O2 and 2% CO2, respectively. In conclusion, storage at 3% O2 and 7% CO2 was effective in inhibiting microorganisms and maintaining the quality of stored fresh-cut cucumbers.
Storage at 3% O2 and 7% CO2 (CAS1) was optimal for fresh-cut cucumbers.
CAS1 treatment retarded the growth of microorganisms.
CAS1 treatment maintained the appearance and color of fresh-cut cucumbers.
CAS1 treatment preserved the antioxidation of fresh-cut cucumbers.
These data provide an empirical basis and technical guidance for fresh-cut cucumber storage.