|Authors: ||L.W. Khubone, A. Mditshwa|
|Keywords: ||shelf-life, irradiation, postharvest quality, carotenoids, total soluble solids|
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is globally one of the most important vegetables.
It is an important source of antioxidants in the human diet.
However, the loss of quality at postharvest is a major issue limiting the shelf-life of tomatoes.
Irradiation is a non-thermal technology that eliminates pathogens and extends the shelf-life of fruit and vegetables.
This study investigated the potential of UV-C irradiation in delaying the ripening process and enhancing the overall quality of tomatoes.
Tomatoes ('Henry's Beauts'), harvested at mature pink stage, were irradiated at 0, 208.2 and 969.8 µW cm-2, three replications of 5 fruits replicate-1 were used.
The radiation dose was measured with a portable digital radiometer.
After irradiation, the fruits were stored at 20°C for 4, 8, 12 and 16 d.
The total soluble solids (TSS), fruit colour and total carotenoids were determined.
UV-C irradiation had no significant effect on the TSS, however, measured and calculated fruit colour parameters (a*, L and hue angle) were significantly influenced by irradiation treatments.
Exposing fruit to 969.8 µW cm-2 delayed the colour development and ripening process.
Irradiation had significant effect on the content of carotenoids.
Although fruit exposed to 969.8 µW cm-2 had better overall quality, the development of lesions on exocarp possibly due to high irradiation intensity remains a concern.
This study showed the potential of UV-C irradiation treatment as a postharvest tool for the management of tomatoes.
Further research aimed at understanding the mechanism of action used by UV-C irradiation is warranted.
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