In this study, X-ray computed microtomography (X-ray μCT) was applied to investigate the changes in the 3-D microstructure of mango during ripening at 20 °C. X-ray μCT provided a unique insight of the undamaged tissue and pore network during ripening. Analysis of the pore and tissue network revealed differences in the microstructure along the radial axis of the fruit and microstructural changes during ripening. Multivariate statistical analysis unveiled that ripening was associated with a decrease in pore size, and increase in pore fragmentation and pore specific surface area. These structural parameters have the highest discriminating ability, correctly classifying unripe from ripe fruit samples. The study concludes that ripening can be successfully characterized on the basis of its 3-D microstructure using X-ray microtomography.
Industrial relevance: This study identified important parameters to describe the ripening process on the basis
of microstructure. As today's microtomography technology allows for scanning only a small tissue sample from the fruit, the pace at which tomography technology is advancing will allow for scanning whole fruit with sufficient resolution and without any need for sample preparation. Results from this study could be applied for non-destructive determination of fruit microstructure for assessing fruit quality in relation to the ripening process.