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Effect of fruit size on fruit quality, shelf life and microbial activity in cherry tomatoes

1 Department of Food Science and Biotechnology, Gachon University, Seongnam 13120, Korea
2 Division of Horticulture and Systems Engineering, Program of Horticulture, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Korea
3 Agriculture and Life Science Research Institute, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Korea

This study was conducted to investigate the effects of large, medium, and small fruit sizes on fruit quality, shelf life, and microbial activity in cherry tomatoes. Large (31.28 mm), medium (28.52 mm), and small (24.16 mm) tomatoes were harvested at light red maturity in Gangwon Province in the Republic of Korea. The quality of the tomatoes was measured at harvest time. Following harvest, the tomatoes were stored at 5 ℃; they were kept in boxes, acting as controls, or packed with a 20,000 cc oxygen transmission rate (OTR), acting as modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) to measure postharvest quality. The large tomatoes showed lower rates of respiration and ethylene production compared to the other sizes. The rate of fresh weight loss was the highest in the small tomatoes. A prolonged shelf life was observed in the large tomatoes. The rate of fungal incidence was lower in the large tomatoes compared with the medium and small ones. On the final day of storage, the large tomatoes retained the highest level of firmness and the concentrations of titratable acidity and vitamin C. However, the small tomatoes contained the highest level of soluble solids among the different sizes. Bacterial and fungal counts were the lowest in the large tomatoes. Based on the above results, large tomatoes may be better than smaller tomatoes for exporting over long distances.
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