Scheduling tomato fruit ripening with l-methylcyclopropene

Celso L. Moretti, Waldir A. Marouelli, Washington L.C. Silva


Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) fruit, 'Santa Clara', were harvested at the breaker stage from commercial fields in Brazlandia, DF (Brazil) to investigate the ability of 1- methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) to retard tomato fruit ripening. Fruit without external blemishes were graded for size and di ameter, placed inside hermetically sealed boxes, and 1-MCP was applied for 12-hours (22 ± 1 °C; 80-85% RH) at four different concentrations: 0 (control), 250, 500 or 1000 ppb. Fruit were held at ambient conditions (23 ± 2°C; 80-85% RH) for 2 days and then stored inside a cold room (20 ± 1°C; 85-95% RH). Every 3 days during a 15-day period, fruit were analyzed for firmness, total soluble solids, titratable acidity, external color, and total carotenoids. Fruit treated with 1-MCP at 1000 ppp had a firmness about 88% higher than control fruit after 17 days. The a7b* ratio, an indicator of skin color, for fruit treated with 1-MCP at 1000 ppb was 38% lower than control fruit at the end of the storage period. Treatments with higher concentrations of 1-MCP delayed total carotenoid synthesis and color development. Control fruit stored for 17 days had about 190% more total carotenoids than fruit treated with 1-MCP at 1000 ppb.Postharvest application of 1-MCP was an efficient method of delaying tomato fruit ripening. As 1-MCP concentration increased, ripening was further delayed. Tomatoes treated with 1-MCP at 250,500 or 1000 ppb were delayed in ripening by 8 to11,11 to 13, and 15 to 17 days, respectively.

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