Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) is one of the most widely cultivated and extensively consumed horticultural crops in Ethiopia. Tomato has a limited shelf life at ambient conditions, is highly perishable fruit and it changes continuously after harvesting. There are many postharvest technologies that extend the marketable life of fruits and vegetables. The study was to evaluate the effect of packing materials on shelf-life and quality of tomato fruit at Samara, Northeastern rift valley of Ethiopia. Three types of packaging material were taken, that is, low density perforated and non-perforated polyethylene bag, carton and without packaging as a control. Physiological weight loss, decay percentage, color score, overall acceptability and percentage marketability were assessed for every three days of storage. The result revealed that packaging had a significant effect on physiological weight loss, decay percentage, color score, overall acceptability and marketability. The lowest physiological weight loss of 0.29 and 1.72% was recorded from non-perforated polyethylene bag at 3 and 6 days of storage, respectively; further increase in the storage period with the lowest physiological weight loss (24.57%) was recorded from perforate polyethylene bag. Moreover, the lowest (0.00%) decay percentage and the highest (60%) marketability were recorded from perforated polyethylene bag on day 9 of storage. Decay loss of tomato fruits at the end of storage was much (60%) higher on non-perforated polyethylene bag than the perforated and carton (0.00%). Color and overall acceptability score of tomato fruit was also maximum on perforated polyethylene bag and the lowest was obtained from control treatment at the end of storage. It can, thus, be concluded that packaging of tomato fruits in perforated polyethylene bags resulted in extending storage-life with better-quality of the produce in samara area.
Key words: Tomato fruit, packaging material, storage life, quality.
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