Heat Treatments Extend Shelf-life of Tomato Fruit

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  • 1 1USDA/ARS, U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory, 2120 Camden Road, Orlando, FL 32803
  • 2 2USDA/ARS, Citrus and Subtropical Products Lab., P.O. Box 1909, Winter Haven, FL 33883.

Mature, green tomatoes were either gassed or not gassed with C2H4 for 24 h, immersed in 42C water for 60 min, or held in 38C air for 48 h or not treated, and then stored at either 2C or 13C for 14 days before ripening at 20C. During ripening, the fruit were evaluated for color development, internal quality, and decay and for volatiles when full ripe. Both high-temperature treatments reduced chilling injury and inhibited decay. Days to ripen after removal from storage at 2C or 13C was not influenced by heat treatment method. Color development, lycopene content, and internal quality characteristics of fruit were similar at the ripe stage, irrespective of heat treatment. Of 15 volatiles analyzed, seven showed decreased levels of concentrations as a result of C2H4 gassing, nine showed decreased levels when stored at 2C prior to ripening, and most were unaffected by the heat treatments. Heat treatments appear to be beneficial for maintaining tomato fruit quality.

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