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Determination of developmental and ripening stages of whole tomato fruit using portable infrared spectroscopy and Chemometrics

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number236
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>4/06/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>BMC Plant Biology
Number of pages15
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Background: Development and ripening of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruit are important processes for the study of crop biology related to industrial horticulture. Versatile uses of tomato fruit lead to its harvest at various points of development from early maturity through to red ripe, traditionally indicated by parameters such as size, weight, colour, and internal composition, according to defined visual ‘grading’ schemes. Visual grading schemes however are subjective and thus objective classification of tomato fruit development and ripening are needed for ‘high-tech’ horticulture. To characterize the development and ripening processes in whole tomato fruit (cv. Moneymaker), a biospectroscopy approach is employed using compact portable ATR-FTIR spectroscopy coupled with chemometrics.
Results: The developmental and ripening processes showed unique spectral profiles, which were acquired from the cuticle-cell wall complex of tomato fruit epidermis in vivo. Various components of the cuticle including Cutin, waxes, and phenolic compounds, among others, as well as from the underlying cell wall such as celluloses, pectin and lignin like compounds among others. Epidermal surface structures including cuticle and cell wall were significantly altered during the developmental process from immature green to mature green, as well as during the ripening process. Changes in the spectral fingerprint region (1800–900 cm− 1) were sufficient to identify nine developmental and six ripening stages with high accuracy using support vector machine (SVM) chemometrics.
Conclusions: The non-destructive spectroscopic approach may therefore be especially useful for investigating in vivo biochemical changes occurring in fruit epidermis related to grades of tomato during development and ripening, for autonomous food production/supply chain applications.