A new wireless sensor, which was invented in Mexico and that records in real-time the blows suffered by Hass avocados during the selection and packaging processes, could help protect the final quality of the fruit.
The avocado-shaped device is equipped with an accelerometer that records and measures the vibrations in the three spatial axes (X, Y, Z), simulates the path of the fruits in the different post-harvest stages, and accurately assesses impacts or blows and the place where they occur in real-time.
"It takes the fruit 4 to 5 minutes to reach the packing hopper since it is emptied from its box to one of the transporter bands," stated Juan Antonio Herrera Gonzalez, a researcher of the National Institute of Forestry, Agricultural and Livestock (Inifap) from the Uruapan Experimental Field in an interview. The researcher said the avocado was very susceptible to external and mechanical damage before and after the harvest, and that its handling during these stages can reduce its quality if it is not adequate.
He said that the contact with other fruits or against different surfaces during that period of time can alter the texture, color, and flavor of its pulp because it accelerates its ripening from the inside, which shortens the fruit's shelf life and reduces its commercial value, among other things.
According to a study carried out by Inifap experts in different balers, an avocado receives 37 to 42 impacts during the selection and packing line.
In addition, they identified that the greatest amount of impacts of different magnitudes happened in the passage through the rollers and brushes, with 45 hits on average. In addition, they receive 6 or 7 hits in the stage when the fruits are emptied to the packing hopper, and an average of 14.9 impacts in the manual selection process, when the fruits are aligned in rows.
This sensor represents an alternative to prevent errors in the standardization of post-harvest processes, such as the inspection, detection, and adjustment of machinery, and it can help ensure the quality of Hass avocado from the field to the table.