HARVEST STAGES AND PRE-COOLING INFLUENCE THE QUALITY AND STORAGE LIFE OF TOMATO FRUIT
A. Rab*, H. Rehman*, I. Haq**, M. Sajid*, K. Nawab** and K. Ali****
*Department of Horticulture, University of Agriculture, Peshawar, Pakistan.
**Hazara Agriculture Research Center, Abbottabad, Pakistan
***Department of Extension and Communication, University of Agriculture, Peshawar, Pakistan.
****Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Peshawar, Pakistan.
Corresponding Author E- Mail: email@example.com
The study was carried out to investigate the influence of harvesting stages and pre-cooling on the physico-chemical quality characteristics of stored tomato fruit during the years 2008-2009. Tomato fruits of three maturity stages e.g. breaker, yellow and pink were harvested on 30th June at mid-day and either left untreated (control) or subjected to pre-cooling treatment. Data was recorded on various physico-chemical quality characteristics after 28 days storage at 12±2°C. Harvesting stages significantly affected the fruit quality parameters. The least weight loss (9.167 %) and reducing sugars (2.93%) were recorded in fruits harvested at yellow mature stage, which also had the highest juice (34.16%) and ascorbic acid content (8.06 mg/100ml). The fruit harvested at breaker stage had the highest firmness (7.833 kg/cm2), but least juice content (26.66%), TSS (7.91%), fruit pH (3.58) and disease incidence (14.5%), while the highest weight loss (11.167%), fruit pH (4.0) and disease incidence (17.5%) was observed in fruits harvested at pink mature stage. Pre-cooling resulted in significantly lower weight loss, TSS, fruit pH, reducing sugars and disease incidence as well as higher juice content, fruit firmness, nonreducing sugars and ascorbic acid as compared control. The interaction of harvesting stages and pre-cooling revealed that the treatment resulted in significantly higher fruit firmness, ascorbic acid content and lower disease incidence, however it was more effective at the yellow stage of maturity.
Key words: Fruit Quality, Harvesting Stages, Pre cooling, Tomato.