Edible coatings play an integral role in maintaining the postharvest quality of fruits and vegetables by acting as a semipermeable barrier against O2, CO2, and moisture, thus reducing water loss, respiration rate, oxidation reaction, and solute movement. Considering the sensitivity of bell peppers to water loss and shriveling after harvest, the present study was conducted to investigate the role of different edible coatings, i.e., gum arabic and Aloe vera gel along with cinnamon oil, on the postharvest storage life after harvest of bell pepper cv. ‘Yolo Wonder’. Bell pepper fruit coated with different concentrations of Aloe vera gel (4%, 5%, 6%), gum arabic (6%, 9%, 12%) and cinnamon oil (0.5%, 0.75%, 1%) were packed in cardboard boxes and stored at 8±1 °C with 80-85% RH for 21 days. Fruits were removed at 7 days intervals to examine the activities of antioxidant enzymes (CAT, SOD), browning enzymes (POD, PPO), and softening enzymes (PE, PG). The results revealed significantly higher antioxidant enzyme activities (CAT, SOD) in all coated treatments, while inhibition in the activities of browning (POD, PPO) and fruit softening (PE, PG) enzymes showed that these edible coatings may have beneficial effect on retaining postharvest fruit quality. These coatings may slow the rate of senescence of bell peppers by maintaining fruit firmness through the reduction of the activity of fruit softening enzymes, inhibiting production of undesirable brown pigments, and preventing oxidative damage by detoxifying free radicals. In general, the arabic gum coating at 12% concentration and the Aloe vera gel at 6% can be used commercially to preserve the quality and nutritional value of bell pepper fruit cv. ‘Yolo Wonder’ under cold storage conditions and, therefore, to minimize food waste and ensure food security by meeting consumer standards.
Keywords: antioxidants, Aloe vera gel, browning, cinnamon oil, fruit softening, gum arabic