Effect of transportation conditions and pre-storage treatments on the quality and shelf-life of fresh tomatoes in selected South African supply chains
This study investigates the effect of various pre-storage treatments and transport conditions on the quality and shelf life of fresh tomatoes transported along three South African supply chains. The experimental design comprised of tomatoes harvested at three maturity stages (red, pink and green); three transport routes with varying road quality conditions; seven disinfection treatments; and two storage conditions (ambient or 11°C). Samples were drawn at regular intervals over a 30-day storage period. Fruit color, firmness, weight loss, visual quality and marketability were assessed. The Esmefour-Pietermaritzburg route (ZZ) was longer than the Point Drift-Pietermaritzburg (PD) and Steve Mohale's Farm-Pietermaritzburg route (EM) by 263.44 and 223.81 km, respectively. The majority of the EM route (70%) had an International Roughness Index (IRI) value less than 2.5 m km-2, while the ZZ and PD routes had 63 and 58% of their road length recording IRI values less than 2.5 m km-2, respectively. The mean hue angle and firmness of fruit stored under cold storage was 16.3 and 19.2% higher than that of fruit stored under ambient conditions, respectively. Tomatoes transported through the EM route had the highest mean firmness (19.41 N) and marketability (74.5%), least cumulative mean weight loss (4.8%), while fruit transported through PD had the best color retention with an average hue angle of 52.56. Anolyte water in combination with biocontrol had the least weight loss, best visual appearance and marketability compared to fruit treated with hot water, hot water in combination with biocontrol or tap water (control). Timely maintenance of roads in and around farms is suggested due to the key role road quality plays in fruit quality degradation. Anolyte water can potentially be used as an alternative to chlorinated water as a disinfectant of tomato fruit.
Cherono, K. and Workneh, T.S. (2019). Effect of transportation conditions and pre-storage treatments on the quality and shelf-life of fresh tomatoes in selected South African supply chains. Acta Hortic. 1258, 55-62
road quality, IRI, surface disinfection, post-harvest, anolyte water