Fresh fruits are living, breathing organisms whose deterioration spiral begins upon harvest. Once harvested, fruits are removed from their source of water, minerals and nourishment. Fruit tissues continue to respire, using available and stored sugars and organic acids, and they begin to senesce rapidly. This deterioration spiral is accelerated after fresh fruits are peeled and sliced, due to:

• Different responses to environment than corresponding whole products
• Physical damage/wounding and cell disruption
• Biochemical changes
• Enhanced microbial growth
• Higher respiration rates
• Faster senescence
• Loss of water and nutrients

These changes may be accompanied by cut surface discoloration, colour loss, flavour loss, off-odours, rapid softening, shrinkage and decay. Therefore, maintaining quality of fruits becomes even more difficult when produce has been minimally processed. This is why fresh-cut or minimally-processed fruit deterioration mechanisms have become very important issues among food scientists and technologists in recent years.

Depending on the requirements of fresh fruit, the application of optimal minimal processing and appropriate active packaging systems may reduce food quality deterioration. Each fruit has a specific route to deterioration, and the mechanisms that lead to the end of shelf life are different. Both pre-packaging treatment and active packaging systems should address the specific weak points in the shelf life of each specific packed fruit.