Mature green `Sunbeam' tomato fruit (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), were treated in varying order with C2H4, 42°C water for 60 minutes, 38°C air for 48 hours, partial ripening for 48 hours at 20°C, or not treated, and then stored at 2°C for 14 days before ripening at 20°C. Heat treated fruit stored at 2°C and transferred to 20°C ripened normally while 63% of nonheated fruit decayed before reaching red ripe. More chilling injury (CI) developed when C2H4 was applied following heat treatment rather than before. There was more CI in fruit that were 42°C water treated compared with the 38°C air treatment. Less CI developed on fruit that were partially ripened for 2 days at 20°C before a 42°C water treatment rather than following it. At red ripe, nonchilled fruit were firmer than chilled heat treated fruit. Fruit treated in 42°C water were firmer when the heat treatment was applied before the C2H4 treatment rather than following it. Chlorophyll and lycopene content and internal quality characteristics of fruit were similar at the red ripe stage irrespective of C2H4 or heat treatment. Chilling and heat treatments reduced some of the 15 flavor volatiles analyzed. Volatile levels were lower in fruit treated with C2H4 before heat treatment compared with fruit treated with C2H4 following heat treatment. Prestorage heat treatments could allow for storage of mature green tomatoes at low temperatures with little loss in their ability to ripen normally.
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