Degradation and Formation of Fruit Color in Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) in Response to Storage Temperature
Abstract: Temperature is the most important environmental factor in the post-harvest life of tomato fruit because it has a tremendous influence on the rate of biological processes, including development of red color and softening of tomato fruit. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of different storage temperatures on degradation and synthesis of tomato fruit color. The experiment was carried out in the laboratory of post-harvest physiology at Jimma University using CRD arrangement of treatments replicated three times. The experiment had three treatments: tomato fruits stored at 4, 20 and 30°C. The result showed that storage at 4°C significantly (p<0.05) inhibited weight loss, softening and enhancement of lycopene of the fruits during storage compared to 20 and 30°C. Tomato fruits stored at 20 and 30°C showed significant increase in chroma, color index, lycopene, β-carotene, chlorophyll degradation and weight and firmness loss. Also, the rate of reduction in hue angle of fruits stored at 20 and 30°C was low compared to that of the fruits stored at 4°C. Total soluble solids parameter was not affected either by high temperature or low temperature storage. Titratable acid of tomato fruits stored at 4°C had significantly (p<0.05) higher value (0.40%) than fruits stored at 20 and 30°C. The shelf life of the fruits significantly (p<0.05) increased with decreasing storage temperature. The result can serve as a bench mark to warm and humid tropical areas like Jimma in which atmospheric temperature mostly approaches to 30°C.