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Monitoring quality and safety assessment of summer squashes along the food supply chain using near infrared sensors

Torres, Irina, Sánchez, María-Teresa, Entrenas, José-Antonio, Garrido-Varo, Ana, Pérez-Marín, Dolores
Postharvest biology and technology 2019 v.154 pp. 21-30
equations, farm to fork, food supply chain, fresh market, monitoring, near-infrared spectroscopy, nitrates, nondestructive methods, portable equipment, processing technology, safety assessment, spectrophotometers, total soluble solids, zucchini
Currently, there is growing interest from the producers and the vegetable processing industry to use from farm to fork, non-destructive analysis techniques as a routine step to ensure the quality and safety of horticultural products. This interest, coinciding with the development of new instruments adapted for use both in the field and on the production line, has led to Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) becoming an increasingly practicable option for meeting the demand. The aim of this work was to develop and optimize NIRS analysis methodology using two spectrophotometers: the first is the MicroNIR™ 1700, a manual, portable instrument based on Linear Variable Filter (LVF) technology, ideally suited to analysing horticultural products in the field, and the other is the Matrix-F, based on Fourier Transform (FT) NIR technology and suitable for online analysis in the processing industries. A total of 230 summer squashes were used to predict the quality (dry matter and soluble solid content) and safety (nitrate content) parameters. For the MicroNIR™ 1700, the comparison between the equations developed confirmed that taking of point spectra (static mode) was the most suitable way of analysis to measure both the quality and safety parameters. In the case of the Matrix-F instrument, it was confirmed that a single spectrum taken online for the intact product as it moves on the conveyor belt (dynamic mode) is enough to establish the product’s quality and safety during industrial processing, thus allowing it to be incorporated easily and conveniently into the production line.