Simulated transport damage study on fresh tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) fruits
Keywords:transport, damage, packaging containers, fresh tomato
A simulated transport study under laboratory conditions was conducted to assess the performances of the current traditional basket which is the sole packaging container for tomato fruit handling and a plastic container which is currently not in use in the system. A developed vibrating table was used to excite vibrations and impact on the packaged fruits in these containers according to the ASTM D4169-08 International Standard, Assurance Level II. The results showed that 40%, 37.50% and 45% of the samples of tomato fruits from the top, middle and bottom of the traditional basket respectively were severely bruised after four hours of excitation. In the case of the plastic container, the corresponding values were 44.18%, 30.23% and 18.60% for the samples taken from the top, middle and bottom of the container, respectively. The average bruise width of the damage samples packaged in the traditional basket was 24.36 mm while the average length was 36.67 mm. In the case of the plastic container, the average bruise width was 15.18 mm and that of the length was 26.97 mm. The ANOVA shows that these mean values of bruise areas differed significantly (p ≤ 0.05) between the two packaging containers. The plastic container which is currently not used by the handlers of these fresh produce performed better in reducing mechanical damage resulting from impact and vibration than the traditional basket solely used in the transportation of fresh tomato fruits in Nigeria.
Keywords: transport, damage, packaging containers, fresh tomato