This study was aimed at analyzing the effects of packaging (MAP) and preservation conditions on the packaged fresh walnut kernel quality. The central composite plan was used for evaluating the effect of oxygen (0–10%), carbon dioxide (0-10%), and temperature (4-26 °C) on qualitative characteristics of walnut kernels. Also, the response level technique was used to find the optimal conditions for interactive effects of factors, as well as estimating the best conditions of process using least amount of testing. Measured qualitative parameters were: peroxide index, color, decreased weight, mould and yeast counting test, and sensory evaluation. The results showed that the defined model for peroxide index, color, weight loss, and sensory evaluation is significant (p < 0.001), so that increase of temperature causes the peroxide value, color variation, and weight loss to increase and it reduces the overall acceptability of walnut kernels. An increase in oxygen percentage caused the color variation level and peroxide value to increase and resulted in lower overall acceptability of the walnuts. An increase in CO2 percentage caused the peroxide value to decrease, but did not significantly affect other indices (p ≥ 0.05). Mould and yeast were not found in any samples. Optimal packaging conditions to achieve maximum quality of walnuts include: 1.46% oxygen, 10% carbon dioxide, and temperature of 4 °C.
Microbial degradation of foods is defined as a decrease of food safety due to microorganism activity. Organic acids, sulfur dioxide, sulfide, nitrate, nitrite, dimethyl dicarbonate and several preservative gases have been used as chemical preservatives in foods as well as natural preservatives which are indigenous in foods. It is determined that usage of herbal preservatives such as blueberry, dried grape, prune, garlic, mustard, spices inhibited several microorganisms. Moreover, it is determined that animal origin preservatives such as whey, honey, lysosomes of duck egg and chicken egg, chitosan have antimicrobial effect. Other than indigenous antimicrobials in foods, antimicrobial agents produced by microorganisms could be used as natural preservatives. The antimicrobial feature of preservatives depends on the antimicrobial spectrum, chemical and physical features of material, concentration, mode of action, components of food, process conditions, and pH and storage temperature. In this review, studies about antimicrobial components which are indigenous in food (such as herbal and animal origin antimicrobial agents), antimicrobial materials synthesized by microorganisms, and their usage as an antimicrobial agent to preserve foods are discussed.