NIR technology guide to quality mango

In 2013, while backpacking around Australia, Nick Anderson took a job on a mango farm. He enjoyed the wide open landscape of the orchards, as well as trying to solve the challenge of estimating mango harvest maturity.

With a background in Information Technology, Nick Anderson immediately gravitated toward the role of operating the farm’s Near Infrared Spectrometer, or NIR gun—the NIRvana—and maintained a regular routine of measuring the dry matter (DM) content in mangoes to help farm managers make strategic decisions about when to harvest for the highest quality fruit. Soon the farm saw the value of Anderson’s work and asked him to come back to work for the next season.

In 2014, Anderson met Dr. Kerry Walsh of Central Queensland University, an Agricultural Plant Scientist and the creator of the NIRvana. After working with Dr. Walsh over the course of a year, Anderson began studying for his master’s degree in NIR technology at Central Queensland University this past August.

So far Anderson’s research has centered around the latest NIR gun to hit the market, the F-750 Produce Quality Meter from Felix Instruments – Applied Food Science. The F-750, a follow-up to the original NIRvana, is a non-destructive tool for rapid quality assessment. Acting like a high-powered flashlight, the device measures light interactance with groups of molecules and measures internal qualities of produce in under six seconds. This season, Anderson used the F-750 to build models which will allow for non-destructive DM measurements of mangoes.

When asked how he sees technology like the F-750 playing a role in the mango industry, Anderson says, “NIR technology impacts the mango market because it is a guide for quality. Consumers expect a level of quality in a product for which they are paying extra money.” Mango growers, distributors, and researchers alike understand that harvesting mangoes too early or too late compromises the consumer experience. A measure of dry matter content of the fruit assists in the decision of when to pick it.

Thanks to scholars like Anderson, NIR technology will continue to become more accessible, empowering growers to maximize their crop by making strategic decisions to deliver the highest quality mangoes.

For more information:
Felix Instruments

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