Firmness behaviour of sliced tomato
Sliced tomatoes soften rapidly as well as becoming translucent. To develop a physiologically-based mechanism to describe softening the firmness of two cultivars, as a function of time, storage temperature, type of compression (repeated on the same spot or single measurements on consecutive spots on the equator of the pericarp) and initial maturity was measured using tomato slices. The proposed mechanism assumes that the softening of slices is radically different from that of whole tomatoes and depends on the stage of ripening at slicing. The mechanism is also based on the assumption that the pericarp solubility will quickly increase because of exposure to, amongst others, vacuolar contents with a low pH. This exposure will have a more serious effect on the firmness behaviour of ripe tomatoes because the pericarp tissue will have been exposed longer to a lower pH environment that will affect pectin solubility. A kinetic model that describes the individual firmness behaviour over time was developed. This model described trends well despite the high variability of the raw data. It was found that firmness loss induced by wounding occurs within 12 h. The effect of the initial maturity on the final firmness of the slices was large. The model indicates that consumer acceptance of sliced tomatoes is greatly affected by selection of cultivars with sufficient final (structural) firmness combined with a thorough assessment of the maturity at the time of slice preparation.
Schouten, R., Natalini, A., Woltering, E. and Tijskens, L.M.M. (2018). Firmness behaviour of sliced tomato. Acta Hortic. 1209, 341-346
maturity at harvest, limited compression, pH, kinetic model