Chilling injury is a physiological disorder caused by the exposure of fruits and vegetables to low temperature above the freezing point. Chilling can delay fruit ripening in tomato fruits. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of hot water treatment on reduction of chilling injury and keeping quality of tomato fruits. The experiment was done in post-harvest physiology laboratory of Jimma University using Complete Randomised Design (CRD) arrangement of treatments replicated three times. The experiment had three treatments: green mature tomato treated in water at 40°C and 50°C both for 20 min and control (non-treated) fruits. Results have indicated that 40°C treatment for 20 min resulted in reduced weight loss and chilling injury index but increased fruit firmness during storage. Moreover, shelf life was better than control by three and half days when fruits were treated by hot water at 40°C for 20 min. With regard to chemical quality attributes, 50°C treatment for 20 min was better for higher lycopene content compared to other treatments. Significant differences were not detected among the treatments for total soluble solids, pH and ß-carotine. Hence, hot water treatment before storage can alleviate chilling injury and improving some quality characteristics of tomato fruits.
Key words: Chilling injury, chlorophyll, hot water treatment, lycopene, quality, tomato.
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