This study was carried out to evaluate the shelf life of minimally processed (MP) watercress exposed to gamma radiation with doses of 1.0; 3.0; 4.0 kGy. Packaged irradiated and non-irradiated MP watercress was subject to sensory analysis. A panel consisting of 25-30 non-trained members, aged 20-55 years, was used. Sensory evaluation was carried out on days 0, 2, 5, 7, 9 and 12 after treatment with packages maintained at 7 °C. The members of the panel rated each sample for overall liking on a hybrid 10 hedonic scale (0 = extremely dislike; 10 = extremely like). Microbiological analyses were also conducted. Compared to the non-irradiated sample, 1 kGy irradiated watercress increased its shelf life by one day (16 days). Shelf lives of samples exposed to higher doses were reduced to 9 days (3 kGy) and 6 days (4 kGy) due to changes in appearance. The microbiological quality was good throughout the experiment.
watercress; vegetable irradiation; acceptance test