Effects of temperature conditions during transport and storage on tomato fruit quality

R. Dew, C.J. Seal, K. Brandt
Supermarkets aim to provide good value, ripe and aesthetically pleasing produce to meet high levels of consumer demand. It is important that this is done with low ecological impact in terms of food waste and energy expenditure, both during the supply chain and after purchase. Low temperature is extensively used during transport and storage of fruit aiming to optimise shelf life, despite known risks of detrimental effects on fruit quality and nutritional value. This study investigated the effects of supply chain temperatures currently used by supermarkets within the UK and storage temperatures post sale on tomato quality. Freshly harvested tomatoes were kept at three different temperatures for seven days; room temperature (23°C), an intermediate temperature (15°C), or the usual cold chain (ca. 12°C). After seven days, tomatoes were then kept at either room temperature (to mimic kitchen shelf), or 5°C to represent consumer storage inside a home refrigerator. Tomato quality was assessed in terms of taste and chemical attributes. The results demonstrate that room temperature positively affected tomato taste and total soluble solid concentrations, while colder temperatures of the supply chain or refrigerator reduced these factors, but preserved sensorial crunchiness and firmness. The results from this study suggest that the current temperatures used during the supply chain in the UK are not optimal, and that warmer temperatures can produce tastier tomatoes that will require less energy to transport and store.
Dew, R., Seal, C.J. and Brandt, K. (2016). Effects of temperature conditions during transport and storage on tomato fruit quality. Acta Hortic. 1120, 317-322
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1120.48
Solanum lycopersicon, temperature management, sensory evaluation, total soluble solids, pH, titratable acidity, vitamin C

Acta Horticulturae