WEATHER FRONTS AND POSTHARVEST DECAYS AND SAFETY OF FIELD-GROWN TOMATOES
Water-congestion of fruit can follow abrupt reductions in transpiration of tomato crops after movement of weather fronts through production areas. Prolonged wet weather, prolonged cloudiness, or even certain cultural practices such as topping (removal of a substantial part of the canopy) also may lead to congested fruit. Foliar diseases that lead to defoliation or necrosis of portions of leaf tissues also can lead to water congestion, defined as water in intercellular spaces of fruit tissues. Cracks may develop in surfaces of such fruit, which enables an internalization of microbes including those responsible for human illness. If reductions in transpiration are not balanced or cannot be balanced with a reduction in water uptake, crop managers should expect and be prepared to deal with an increase in fruit defects and decays. If weather events cause wet field conditions, managers must balance delaying harvest until fruit are no longer congested with labor and market demands.
Bartz, J.A., Sargent, S.A. and Scott , J.W. (2015). WEATHER FRONTS AND POSTHARVEST DECAYS AND SAFETY OF FIELD-GROWN TOMATOES. Acta Hortic. 1069, 333-340
postharvest diseases, water-congested fruit