Postharvest biology and technology vol:34 issue:1 pages:81-92
In the long chain of handling operations, tomatoes are subjected to many short-time mechanical forces, called impacts, which can lead to puncture injury causing qualitative and quantitative losses. The number and intensity of impacts in different phases of representative Belgium tomato chains were investigated, using a PMS_60 instrumented sphere. The severest impacts were found during grading. By means of pendulum measurements and appropriate statistical techniques, the effect of the intensity of impacts on puncture injury was studied for the cultivars 'Tradiro' (less susceptible to puncture injury) and 'Style' (very susceptible to puncture injury). Since only a small proportion of the recorded impacts represent a collision between a tomato fruit and a stem, the probability of a fruit-stem impact was calculated for both cultivars. Taking this into account, the data from the electronic sphere recorded during grading were used to predict the risk of puncture injury for both cultivars. To validate the prediction, 300 'Tradiro' and 'Style' tomatoes were inspected after grading. The prediction matched the observations very well. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.