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Effect of Different Types of Plastic Packaging Films on the Moisture and Aflatoxin Contents of Pistachio Nuts During Storage

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Abstract: Pistachio nut ( Pistacia vera L.) is one of the popular tree nuts in the world. Proper selection of packaging materials is necessary to prevent absorption of moisture and aflatoxin formation which will influence the overall product quality and safety. This research is undertaken to study the effect of different type of flexible packaging films on the moisture and aflatoxin contents of whole pistachio nuts during storage at ambient temperature (22-28 °C) and relative humidity of 85-100 . Five types of plastic films tested were low density polyethylene (LDPE) which serves as the control, food-grade polyvinyl chloride (PVC), nylon (LDPE PA), polyamide polypropylene (PA PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The moisture content and aflatoxin content of pistachio nuts were measured using oven drying method and HPLC, respectively. Sample were analysed at 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 months during the storage period. Results showed that there was an increase in moisture content with the increase in storage time of pistachio nuts. The increase in moisture content was associated with the aflatoxin level of pistachio nuts during storage time. All the packaging materials except LDPE delayed the moisture absorption and aflatoxin formation of the product. The most suitable packaging materials for maintaining the quality and safety of pistachio nuts is PET films followed by nylon, PA PP and PVC. The shelf-life of pistachio can be extended from 2 months (Control) to 5 months when PET is used as the packaging material.

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