Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Plant, Enviromental and Soil Sciences

First Advisor

James F. Fontenot


Mustard "greens' is a popular fresh vegetable, especially in the South. Fresh market production, however, is restricted to local sales or short-distance markets due to the relatively short shelf life of mustard. Packaging has been shown to successfully extend the shelf life of several fruits and vegetables. To determine the effect of packaging and storage temperature on the postharvest life and quality of mustard, mustard was stored at 1, 4, and 15C in perforated polyethylene bags, Cryovac D-955 60-gauge or 100-guage heat-shrinkable films or not-wrapped. A preliminary experiment was conducted with spinach to develop experiment methodology and for comparison of packaging effects on another leafy vegetable. Packaging mustard in perforated bags, Cryovac 60, or Cryovac 100 films significantly reduced weight loss over non-bagged greens. Mustard and spinach package in the Cryovac films lost less weight than greens packaged in perforated bags. Weight loss was higher for greens stored at 4 and 15C, than greens stores at 1C. There was an increase in weight loss of mustard not-bagged and in perforated bags as number of days in storage increased. Package type had a highly significant effect on CO$\sb2$ concentration in atmosphere within packages of spinach and mustard, with higher CO$\sb2$ concentrations occurring in packages made of Cryovac film. Concentrations of CO$\sb2$ were constant over storage time, reaching a steady state by the 3rd day of storage. The quality of bagged spinach was excellent after 20 days in storage at temperatures of 1 and 4C. Mustard was stored for 12 days at 1 or 4C with very little loss in quality. Quality of non-bagged mustard was excellent when stored up to 3 days at 1 or 4C, but was unacceptable after 5 days in storage. Packaging significantly increased the incidence of decay and yellow discoloration of greens stored at 15C. Quality of all greens, however, was poor after only 5 days in storage at 15C. Sensory evaluations indicated packaging and storing mustard for extended periods (12 days) did not affect the flavor and quality of cooked mustard.