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Effect of maturity stage and packaging method used in transportation on reduction of transportation loss and extension of shelf-life in tomato

Gautam, D. M., Tripathi, K. M., Acedo, A. L. Jr., Easdown, W., Hughes, J. A., Keatinge, J. D. H.
Acta horticulturae 2017 no.1179 pp. 201-206
bags, bamboos, color, crates, fruits, harvesting, maturity stage, modified atmosphere packaging, physicochemical properties, polyethylene, postharvest losses, protected cultivation, ripening, shelf life, tomatoes, transportation, weight loss, Nepal
Postharvest losses of tomato fruit in Nepal are very high because farmers usually harvest fruits at full-ripe stage and transport in bamboo baskets and ordinary plastic crates. To identify the appropriate maturity stage for harvesting and packaging method, tomatoes 'Srijana' grown in protected cultivation in famers' fields were harvested at breaker and orange-yellow stage and held in ordinary plastic crates without lining, with newspaper lining or plastic lining, or in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) in 50µ low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and transported from Kavre to Chitwan (200 km) in a mini truck. Significantly less damage and lower weight loss were observed in breaker-stage tomatoes during transportation. All packaging methods except ordinary crates minimized damage and weight loss during transportation. The lowest transportation loss was recorded in breaker-stage tomatoes held in 50µ LDPE perforated bags. Visually undamaged fruits from all treatments were selected and stored under ambient conditions (29.3±2.7°C and 85±7.5% RH). Observations were made on physicochemical changes and ripening behavior. Irrespective of packaging treatments, shelf-life of breaker tomatoes (color index 1 (CI-1)) was 19.25 days, compared with 13 days for those harvested at yellow-color stage (CI-4). Physicochemical properties of the fruits at ripened stage were not affected by either the stage of fruit at harvest or the method of packaging during transportation.