Heat Treatment of Mature-green Tomatoes: Differential Effects of Ethylene and Partial Ripening

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory, 2120 Camden Road, Orlando, FL 32803
  • | 2 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Citrus and Subtropical Products Research Laboratory, P.O. Box 1909, Winter Haven, FL 33883

Mature-green `Sunbeam' tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) were treated in varying order with C2H4, 42 °C water for 1 hour, 38 °C air for 2days, held 2 days at 20 °C (partial ripening), or not treated and then stored at 2 °C (chilled) 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 the red-ripe stage. Partially ripened fruit developed more chilling injury, were firmer, were lighter, and were less red in color than fruit not partially ripened. Lycopene content and internal quality characteristics of fruit were similar at the red-ripe stage irrespective of sequence of C2H4 exposure, heat treatment, or a partial ripening period. Of the 15 flavor volatiles analyzed, 10 were reduced by storage at 2 °C, Exposure to C2H4 before the air heat treatment reduced the levels of four volatiles, while C2H4 application either before or after the water heat treatment had no effect on flavor volatiles. Two volatiles were decreased and two were increased by partial vipening, Storage at 2 °C decreased the level of cholesterol and increased levels of campesterol and isofucosterol in the free sterol pool. Exposure to C2H4 before or following heat treatments, the method of heat treatment, and partial ripening had little effect on free sterols, steryl esters, steryl glycosides, or acylated steryl glycosides in the pericarp of red-ripe fruit. A shortor long-term heat treatment of mature-green tomatoes could permit storage at low temperatures with little loss in their ability to ripen normally, whereas partial ripening did not reduce chilling injury.

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