Effect of Ethylene and 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) on Color and Firmness of Red and Breaker Stage Tomato Stored at Different Temperatures

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The red color of the tomato fruit during ripening is due to the presence lycopene, a compound known for its antioxidant property. This compound is influenced by temperature, ethylene and 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) treatment. It was believed that ethylene application at chilling temperature could help increase the amount of lycopene content of tomato fruits. In addition, application of 1-MCP was assumed to reduce the action of ethylene on production of lycopene content and decrease loss of firmness of tomato fruit under chilling temperature. Therefore, the objective of this experiment was to see the effect of ethylene and 1-MCP treatment on color and firmness of tomato fruit under different storage temperatures. A tomato variety (cv. Rotarno) grown under greenhouse condition harvested at red and breaker stage was stored at 4, 8 and 20°C to assess color and firmness. Tomato fruits were treated by ethylene (85.7 ppm) and 1-MCP (2.9 ppm) gases starting from the first day of storage throughout the experimentation period. The color and firmness of the fruits were measured by pigment analyzer and Zwick respectively. Results showed that there was significant difference in color value of ethylene treated breaker stage tomato. 1-MCP treatment reduced the color value of tomato fruits stored at 20°C more than the fruits stored at 4 and 8°C. However, 1-MCP treatment helped to reduce loss of firmness of the fruits. We conclude that external ethylene application on red tomato fruits stored at chilling temperature generally has no effect on the subsequent accumulation of lycopene or to maintain the loss of accumulated lycopene during chilling storage. However, external ethylene treatment on breaker stage tomatoes helps for red color development. In addition, 1-MCP treatment helps to reduce loss of firmness of the fruits.

Tigist Nardos Tadesse
Brian Farneti
Ernst Woltering
American Journal of Food Technology