Damage to intact fruit affects quality of slices from ripened tomatoes

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Breaker stage fruit (cvs 901 and Bobcat) were subjected to different types of physical damage: 3 impacts of a steel ball (67 g) from a height of 33, 66 or 99 cm, 8 impacts of the ball from 99 cm, or dropping the fruit once 1 m onto a hard surface. Fruit were then held at 20 °C until full red, sanitized, sliced and stored at 5 °C. Damaged fruit were less firm than undamaged fruit when ripe. Slice quality (appearance, translucency, lycopene content, juice loss) and shelf-life were affected by damage to the fruit. Lycopene concentrations were higher in undamaged (4.0 mg/kg) than damaged fruit (3.5 and 2.7 mg/kg with 3 impacts from 99 cm and drop damage) and decreased during storage at 5 C. Translucency increased with time and onset was more rapid in moderate to high damage fruit. Juice loss was higher in slices from undamaged (6-8 g/100 g FW) than damaged fruit (1-4 g/100 g). Severe damage resulted in collapse of locular tissue and moderate damage may have induced mealiness. PG activities differed little between slices from severely damaged and undamaged fruit and no differences in PME activities were found.

Marina Buccheri
Marita Cantwell
LWT - Food Science and Technology