Development of an antifungal active packaging containing thymol and an ethylene scavenger. Validation during storage of cherry tomatoes

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Active sachets with antifungal effects and an C2H4 scavenger were developed. Firstly, free thymol (T) or encapsulated thymol (ET) was added at different dosages into sachets containing a KMnO4-loaded sepiolite (SK) and evaluated against Botrytis cinerea at 11 °C in vitro and on inoculated cherry tomatoes. Secondly, the functionality of such sachets was validated on cherry tomato quality during 28 d at 11 °C + 3 d at 22 °C. From the in vitro assay, T-containing sachets led to the highest fungal inhibition (≥91 %), followed by the SK + ET combinations and SK. In contrast, SK- and T-including sachets comparably restrained fungal incidence on tomatoes, but their combination led to an increased incidence. This effect was lessened by the thymol encapsulation. From the validation experiment, the quality changes in cherry tomato followed zero-order kinetics and Weibull models. The C2H4-scavengers were found helpful in controlling postharvest fungal diseases while preserving fruit quality.