There is a large and rapidly growing market for fresh-cut fruit. Microbial volatile organic compounds indicate the presence of fungal or bacterial contamination in fruit. In order to determine whether microbial volatile organic compounds can be used to detect contamination before fruit becomes unmarketable, pieces of cantaloupe, apple, pineapple, and orange were inoculated with a variety of fungal species, incubated at 25°C, then sealed in glass vials. The volatiles were extracted by headspace solid-phase microextraction and analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Forty-five compounds were identified that might serve as unique identifiers of fungal contamination. Fungal contamination can be detected as early as 24 h after inoculation.

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