CQUniversity uses near-infared spectroscopy

Queensland researchers come up with non-invasive fruit ripeness measurement

Queensland researchers have developed a new tool to assess the ripeness of mango crops prior to harvest, potentially boosting harvest timing and fruit quality.

The non-invasive sensor team from CQUniversity this week revealed it had created new sensor system technology using near-infrared spectroscopy to assess produce in the orchard, without damaging the product.

The technology allows farmers to better plan their harvest, by employing the right number of pickers at the right time.

CQUniversity professor Kerry Walsh said some cases, farm performance improved by more than 40 per cent by early and accurate assessment of fruit ripeness. She said the team’s focus was developing new sensor hardware and working with existing sensor hardware to assess agriculture commodities without damaging the product.

“As a consumer, if you go into a retail store and you purchase fruit on the basis of what it looks like, take it home and you have an eating experience that’s bad,” she said. “Research says that you won't go back to buy that fruit for four to six weeks, so it's not an instant decision but it’s certainly important to repeat purchase.”

Professor Walsh told thewest.com.au that the team was originally prompted by growers to estimate the quality of the fruit on the packing line non-invasively, but watching the growers prepare for harvest in the orchard led them to look at machine vision in the orchard.

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