Postharvest Water Intake and Decay of Tomatoes

in HortTechnology
Robert K. Showalter Professor Emeritus, Department of Horticultural Sciences, IFAS, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

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Serious, postharvest decay losses occurred in tomatoes when water in which they were submerged was cooler than the fruit. Tomatoes have extensive intercellular air spaces, a heavily cutinized epidermis, and no stomatal openings. When tomatoes with unbroken skins were submerged in packinghouse dump tank water of lower temperatures, the internal air contracted and water plus decay organisms were drawn into the fruits through the stem scar. Heating dump tank water has been successful in limiting this decay problem.

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