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Improvement of tomato product quality by changing temperature conditions during the first 11 days after harvest

Lookup NU author(s): Rosie Dew, Dr Kirsten BrandtORCiD, Emeritus Professor Chris SealORCiD


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It is a major challenge for supermarkets to provide the consistently excellent fruit quality required to support high levels of consumption and minimise waste, both during the supply chain and after purchase. Low temperatures are extensively used during transport and storage of fruit, aiming to minimise waste, despite known risks of detrimental effects on fruit quality and nutritional value. Freshly harvested tomatoes, at ripening stage 3, were initially kept at a constant, relatively-high temperature of 23C (room temperature, RT) and compared with typical supply chain temperatures of 8-12C (supply chain, SC) before evaluation of nutrient composition and taste. Seven days after harvest, a consumer panel preferred RT tomatoes to SC by 25% (p0.001). At this stage the RT tomatoes had almost 3-fold higher sum of lycopene levels (p=0.006), 55% more lutein (p=0.028) and 7% more total soluble solids (p=0.021). To assess effects during subsequent storage at home by the consumer, tomatoes from each treatment were then kept for an additional 4 days, either at room temperature (23C) (as on a kitchen shelf) (SCRT, RTRT), or at 5C (as in a domestic refrigerator) (SCF, RTF). RTRT tomatoes still had the largest concentration of sum of lycopene (p0.001), and the three treatments involving room temperature periods achieved similar sensory preference scores, while SCF was least favoured (p0.001) by up to 42%. SCRT had similar levels of Vitamin C to SCF but 55 and 76% more than that of RTRT and RTF (p=0.012). This research demonstrates that substantial improvements in tomato quality can be achieved by optimising the postharvest temperatures, both in the supply chain and during storage in the consumer's home, and that further research is required into optimisation of this aspect of supply chain management.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dew R, Brandt K, Seal CJ

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 6th International Conference on Managing Quality in Chains

Year of Conference: 2015

Pages: 147-153

Print publication date: 25/08/2015

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN: 2406-6168

Publisher: International Society for Horticultural Science


DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1091.18

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Series Title: Acta Horticulturae

ISBN: 9789462610859