Vol 117 (2004): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society
Handling & Processing

Impact thresholds to maximize postharvest quality of roma-type tomato

Eunkyung Lee
University of Florida
Published December 1, 2004
  • lycopersicon esculentum,
  • roma tomato,
  • impact injury,
  • postharvest quality


Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) is one of the highest volume vegetables sold for fresh consumption. In recent years, the consumption of specialty tomatoes, e.g., roma, cluster, grape, and mini-pear types, has increased. However, there is little reliable postharvest information available for growers and shippers to maintain the quality of specialty tomatoes. Damage from bruising due to improper handling and shipping is one of the major causes of poor quality of fresh tomatoes. Experiments were conducted to determine the effect of impact force on roma tomato quality. Fruits were harvested at mature-green stage and treated with ethylene (100 ppm; 20C, 90% relative humidity (RH)) for 60 hours to initiate ripening. Breaker-stage fruits were individually suspended and impacted by a pendulum (230 g) with angles equivalent to vertical drops of 20 cm, 40 cm or 60 cm, and then stored at 20 C with 90% RH. Fruits impacted with force equivalent to 40 or 60 cm drop ripened to full red color stage (Hue angle = 36-38) 1 to 2 days faster, and had 25-40% more peak ethylene and 15% more peak CO[sub2] production than control. Roma tomatoes impacted with the force equivalent to 20 cm height drop were not significantly different from the control fruits. However, impact force caused no significant differences in electrolyte leakage, total titratable acidity, pH, or total soluble solids content. Severe internal bruising was not observed in any treatment. Therefore, it can be concluded that a drop of 40 cm or more caused significant loss of postharvest life, but did not affect the quality of fresh, roma-type tomato.