Simulated Shipment of Fresh Market Tomatoes Utilizing Controlled Atmosphere

James W. Rushing*, Clemson University, Coastal Research and Education Center (REC), 2865 Savannah Highway,
Charleston, SC 29414

Mature-green fresh-market tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) were held at 11o C under controlled atmosphere (CA) at 4% O2 and 4% CO2 in a commercial intermodal shipping container equipped with a membrane-based nitrogen generating CA system.  After 4 weeks, tomatoes in CA had 11.9% decay compared to 46.4% decay in control samples held at the same temperature under normal atmosphere.  During storage, color development in controls progressed from green to the light red stage in more than 50% of the fruit and only 4.5% remained green after 4 weeks.  In contrast, CA stored samples had 25.7% of the fruit in green condition and only 3.9% had progressed to the light red stage.  Following CA exposure tomatoes were held at 20o C with or without 250 ppm C2H4 treatment to observe ripening.  All samples ripened normally without symptoms of chilling injury. Results suggest that CA is a useful method for reducing decay and delaying ripening during international transport.


CATEGORY: Postharvest/Plant Biotechnology