The present study was carried out to determine the effects of different concentrations of calcium chloride (CaCl2) on quality and shelf life of tomato fruits harvested at the standard physiologically matured green stage (Maturity Index I). Galilee, a nationally released variety in Ethiopia, was used for the experiment. The treatments were: dipping the fruits for 20 minutes in 2000 ml of distilled water, which contain0% (control), 2%, 4% and 6% of CaCl2. The treated fruits were then stored throughout the experimental period (65 days) at room temperature (25+2oC) up until they finish their marketable life. The experiment was laid out under a Complete Randomized Design (CRD) with four replications. Statistical analysis showed significant differences among the treatments for all the parameters tested except PWL (%). The highest level of TSS (3.87oBrix) and fruit decay (75.0%) were found when fruits were not treated with calcium chloride (0% CaCl2 or control) followed by those treated with 2%, 4% and 6% concentration levels calcium chloride in that order of importance. Conversely, the highest Shelf-life (63 days) as related to the lowest pH (4.52), PWL (16.91%) and DMC loss (0.92%), were obtained from fruits treated with the highest concentration of calcium chloride (6% CaCl2). Concurrently, the lowest changes in fruit color (Color Index 5) and fruit firmness (3.0) at the end of the 65 days storage period were recorded from fruits treated with the highest concentration of calcium chloride (6% CaCl2) while showing the same descending trend as level of concentration decreased. Therefore, it is recommended that physiologically matured green tomato fruits (Maturity Index I) be treated with the highest concentration of calcium chloride (6% CaCl2) for better quality, storage life and postharvest decay control.
Keywords: Tomato fruits, calcium chloride (CaCl2), quality, shelf-life, postharvest decay.