Fresh fruits and vegetables are inherently more liable to deterioration under tropical conditions characterized by high ambient temperatures and humidity. In determining the effects of chemical treatment on tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill cv. Roma), fruits purchased at turning stage of ripening were packaged in low density polyethylene bags (60 µ) containing wooden dust particles moistened with 400 ppm potassium permanganate solution. Samples were treated with hot water dip, boric acid (H₃BO₃) dip at 1000 ppm, CaCl₂ dip at 10,000 ppm, a combination of H₃BO₃ and calcium chloride treatment as well as control. Results of chemical treatment showed increase in weight loss, pH, and a slight increase in moisture content. Total soluble solids and titratable acidity of samples showed a steady decrease, with data on physicochemical qualities collected at 7 days interval. Fruits stored with hot water and combination of H₃BO₃ and CaCl₂ treatments showed higher keeping quality. Shelf life elongation treatments used at tropical ambient temperature of 30 ± 2°C was able to preserve tomato fruits for 21 days from spoilage and microbial attack while retaining its colour and other physicochemical properties.
Key words: Tomato, shelf life, packaging, respiration, pretreatment.
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