BACKGROUND: In Florida, tomatoes are harvested green (GR), which includes mature green (MG) and immature green (IG) fruits, and stored at low temperature (13 °C), resulting in poor flavour. Flavour improvement might be achieved if fruits were harvested with some colour (to eliminate IG fruits) and/or stored at higher temperature with the ripening inhibitor 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP).
RESULTS: ‘Florida 47’ tomatoes were harvested at GR (MG + IG), breaker (BR), turning (TR) and pink (PK) stages, treated (+) or not (−) with 1-MCP and stored at 13 and/or 18 °C. 1-MCP treatment resulted in a gain of up to 6 days of shelf life depending on harvest maturity and storage temperature. Storage at 18 °C rather than 13 °C resulted in an increase in internal red colour, soluble solids (SS)/titratable acidity (TA) ratio and levels of many volatiles studied. The shelf life of BR (+) MCP fruits stored at 13 °C was similar to that of MG fruits. IG fruits exhibited lowest levels of SS, TA and ten volatiles compared with BR fruits.
CONCLUSION: Harvesting tomatoes with colour (BR), thereby eliminating IG fruits, and treating with 1-MCP resulted in better quality with adequate shelf life. Published 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.