Exposure of Green Tomatoes to Hot Water Affects Ripening and Reduces Decay and Chilling Injury

Jeffrey K. Brecht, Weixin Chen, Steven A. Sargent, Kim Cordasco, Jerry A. Bartz


Commercially packed mature-green Florida 'Sanibel', 'Florida47', and 'SunPride' tomatoes {Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) that had not been treated with ethylene were immersed in water at 24°C (ambient control) or 44 to 54°C for various times. Tomatoes were evaluated for ripeness stage, decay, heat injury and chilling injury symptoms, and surface color following 2 weeks of storage at 2 or 12°C and subsequently for up to 10 days of ripening at 20°C. Treatment for 60- 90 min at 44, 46, or 48°C, or 2.5-30 min at 54°C caused heat in jury symptoms (ripening inhibition, stem end creasing, tissue collapse, increased decay). Exposure to 50°C for 2.5 min did not cause any detectable heat injury, whereas the 5 or 10 min at 50°C or 2.5 min at 52°C treatments were associated with only slight incidence and severity of heat injury. All four of those treatments prevented chilling injury symptom development and reduced decay incidence. Exposure to 50°C water for 2.5, 5, or 10 min stimulated ripening-related color development after 12°C storage, but, after 2°C storage, color development of hot water-treated tomatoes was delayed, although normal. Heat treatments tended to magnify maturity variability within a lot of tomatoes, with less mature fruit apparently more sensitive to ripening inhibition and heat injury.

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