The effect of time after harvest on stem scar water infiltration in tomato

Sarah M. Smith, Jay W. Scott, Jerry A. Bartz


Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) fruit can absorb water into and through stem scar tissues during certain postharvest handling steps. The tissue water congestion leads to excessive postharvest development of bacterial soft rot, caused by Erwinia carotovora (Jones). Previously, fruits of certain cultivars were found to differ in the tendency to take up water. Studies were conducted to determine if the interval between harvest and exposure to water affected uptake. 'Florida 47' and 'Sebring' were grown in a completely randomized block design experiment. At 2, 8, 14 or 26 hours after harvest, mature green fruit were weighed, submerged in water for 2 minutes and then reweighed to determine water uptake. During the submergence, air pressure was applied such that the fruit were exposed to water head equivalent to 1.3 m. Fruit of 'Sebring' absorbed significantly less water than 'Florida 47' at all times after harvest, confirming results of previous studies. The amount of water absorbed by fruit of both cultivars was significantly greater at 2 hours as compared with 8, 14 or 26 hours after harvest for both cultivars. Fruit of 'Florida 47' tested at 8, 14 or 26 hours after harvest absorbed similar amounts of water, whereas, 'Sebring' fruit did not.


Lycopersicon esculentum; Erwinia carotovora; bacterial soft rot

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283