Tomato fruit quality in relation to growing season, harvest period, ripening stage and postharvest storage
The effect of two growing seasons (spring and fall), two harvest periods (early and late), four fruit ripening stages at harvest (S1, S2, S3 and S4, according to OECD gauge) and postharvest storage (0 or 16 days at 12 °C) on quality characteristics of tomato fruits was determined in order to investigate its one’s relative contribution. According to the results, all factors significantly affected most of the quality components, but not at the same magnitude. Ripening stage at harvest had the most significant effect in firmness, pH, and in the ratio soluble solids to TA, the growing season only in dry matter content, the storage on pigments’ content (chlorophyll, total carotenoids, lycopene and β-carotene) while the harvesting period was not the main factor in any of the quality traits determined. In conclusion, either the ripening stage at harvest or the time elapsed until consumption had the most significant effect on tomato fruit quality, but both could not be assessed at the time of consumption.
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