Combined effect of heat treatment and moringa leaf extract (MLE) on colour development, quality and postharvest life of tomatoes
Bonga Ngcobo is a PhD student in the Discipline of Horticultural Science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. He graduated with a BSc Agric and Masters (cum laude) from the same University and continued his studies under the supervision of Professor Isa Bertling, from the same Discipline, and Dr. Alistair Clulow, from the Discipline of Agrometeorology. His research focuses on improving the quality and yield of solanaceous (nightshade) crops using innovative, potential horticultural practices, such as application of moringa leaf extract and heat treatments. His current research on tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) quality, one of the solanaceous crops, is trying to increase phyto-nutrients, such as lycopene and vitamin C, in tomato and other solanaceous crops. To boost tomato markets in South Africa, which are currently under pressure, improving the nutritional quality while maintaining shelf life is a major challenge. Therefore, Bonga’s research examined the effects of hot water treatment (HWT) and Moringa oleifera leaf extract (MLE), both safe and inexpensive treatments, individually and in combination, on colour, quality attributes, and postharvest life of the newly developed ‘Snow White’ cherry tomato. Tomatoes were harvested at mature green stage, brought into the laboratory and divided into various batches. These batches were treated with HWT at 48°C for 2 min, coated with either 5 or 10% MLE, or subjected to a combination of HWT at 48°C for 2 min and MLE at 5 or 10%. Bonga’s study demonstrated that HWT combined with either 5 or 10% MLE significantly enhanced tomato fruit colour and carotenoid, particularly ß-carotene, concentrations, with no significant effect on total soluble sugars and firmness. The same treatment seems viable to extend postharvest life of tomatoes.
The article is available in Chronica Horticulturae