Submitted to: Journal Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: One of the major directions of current postharvest research is to reduce the use of chemicals in controlling postharvest pathological and physiological maladies of stored produce. Previous work has shown that postharvest treatment of both apples and tomatoes with heat or calcium or a combination thereof is beneficial in maintaining quality. The remaining question was whether these treatments would result in a product whose taste was unacceptable to the consumer. The results of this research project indicate that fruit treated with heat or calcium or a combination of both was not only unobjectionable, but in some cases more acceptable to sensory panelists than nontreated fruit. This information may help growers proceed with plans to develop alternative strategies using heat and calcium treatments to maintain the quality of stored fruit and reduce their dependency on fungicides.
Technical Abstract: Postharvest heat treatments have been proposed as non-chemical means for enhancing storage of fruits and vegetables. Various regimes of time and temperature in either hot air or hot water maintain fruit firmness and diminish the incidence and severity of pathological diseases. Treatment with calcium, alone or in combination with heat, has similar beneficial effects. Little attention has been paid to the organoleptic effects of these treatments, upon which consumer acceptability ultimately rests. We heated (38 C, 3 d) mature-green or pink tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum, L., cv. 'Daniella') and measured overall consumer preference after the fruit were stored at 12 C for 10 d. Heated and non-heated fruit were rated similar for acceptability by a taste panel, with no off-flavours being detected. Apples (Malus domestica, Borkh., cv. 'Golden Delicious') were infiltrated with 2 percent calcium chloride, or heated (38 C, 4 d), or heated and then infiltrated prior to six months storage in air at 0 C. A range of flavour and texture attributes were then rated by taste panelists. Heated and/or calcium-treated fruit were perceived as crisper, sweeter, and overall more acceptable than untreated fruit. We conclude that, in addition to conferring physiological benefits on stored tomatoes and apples, heat and calcium treatments do not damage and may even improve consumer acceptability.