ENHANCEMENT OF SAFETY AND QUALITY OF ALLIUM CEPA BY OPTIMIZING GAMMA RADIATION DOSE ENDURING REDUCTION OF PATHOGENIC MICROFLORA
Onion (Allium cepa L.) is one of the most widely grown vegetable in the world and a means to earn valuable foreign exchange for many countries. Microbial spoilage of onion is a major cause resulting in postharvest loss every year. In the present study, gamma radiation treatment was used which have benefit over chemical treatments regarding the accumulation of toxic residues in the food commodities. The onion bulbs were irradiated at the doses of 0.05, 0.10 and 0.15 kGy. Then the comparison of microbial populations of onion was made between control and irradiated samples. The impact of radiation dose on weight loss and organoleptic qualities of onion was also evaluated. The results revealed that gamma irradiation significantly affected bioburden and weight loss protecting organoleptic properties. Onion bulbs irradiated at the dose of 0.15 kGy showed minimum weight loss, high safety due to reduced microbial load and preservation of organoleptic qualities of onions.