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Spain: IFAPA studies conservation techniques to improve the life of Raf tomato
The project in development at the center of La Mojonera looks for a way to make it easy to sell the product in faraway markets.
Raf tomato in a commerce center in Almería.
Professionals from the Post-harvest group in the Institute for Agricultural and Fishing Investigation and Training are working to optimize the conservation of Raf tomato, by determining the application of new techniques in order to prolong the useful life of the product, so it can be sold in more distant markets than the present ones, without any loss on quality. This is an open investigation line in IFAPA at La Mojonera, included in projects undertaken by the Post-harvest group concerning tomato and courgette. Those studies, as pointed out by the Investigation Institute, "are within the project "Transforma" developed under the name of "Development of different agro-food of vegetable origin techniques and products".
According to Rafael Font, coordinator of the Post-harvest Unit in the IFAPA Center La Monojera, among the objectives dealt in this working line are "studies about the effects of the breathing rate and the ethylene production, among other parameters, regarding the different cultivation stages, maturity stages and packing with different plastics". Also, "we're studying the tomato's sensitivity to cold and the use of chemical treatments with the objective of keeping the fruit's firmness for as long as possible during the product's life".
The innovative element in the tomato packaging, "are the low permeability plastics treated as ethylene absorbing products, more than any other kind of plastic. This gas is related with several post-harvest physiology disturbances, since exposure to it might bring some undesirable effects which translate into quality loss and reduction of the useful life of vegetable products in the post-harvest period, so it's needed to avoid the accumulation in the interior of packs", explained the coordinator for the Post-harvest Unit.
In their investigation, professionals realized the high sensitivity of those fruits to cold, so they "optimized the packaging with the use of micro-perforated plastic, since they realized that fruit conserved at a atmosphere enriched with carbon dioxide have a longer life of several days", concluded Font.
Publication date: 3/29/2012
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