Effect of Gum Arabic Coating on the Quality and Shelf Life of Tomato Fruits

Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) is an important food commodity from nutritional and commercial point of view and is one of the most widely consumed fresh vegetables in the world. However, freshly harvested tomato has shorter shelf life and marketability. Major losses in tomato quality and quantity occur between harvest and consumption. There is thus a need for the applications of new technologies to extend the shelf life of this commodity. The use of edible coatings appears to be a good alternative. The objective of the research was to investigate the effect of gum arabic coating on the shelf life and quality of tomato fruits during storage and to determine the response of different maturity stages with gum arabic coating on the shelf life and quality of tomato fruits during storage. Tomato fruits of cultivar sanmarzano coated with gum arabic (5-20% solution) were evaluated during 26 days of storage at 19±2°C and 45-50 RH. Gum arabic coating solutions at 5, 10, 15, 20% (w/v) concentrations, were tested for this physiological storage effect. The physiological weight loss of 15% and 20% of gum coated tomato fruits significantly (p ≤ 0.05) reduced weight loss of the fruits of both at mature green and breaker maturity stages. Weight losses of uncoated and 5% fruits were significantly higher. In general, there was a gradual increase in total soluble solids (TSS) throughout the storage period. The TSS was significantly (P < 0.05) higher in control and 5% samples compared with the 20% coated. The skin colour change was significantly (P < 0.05) higher in control samples compared with the thick coated fruits of 20%. The colour change values were statistically insignificant between control and 5% gum arabic coated fruits. No significant changes in colour values of coated and uncoated fruits were observed at both the maturity stages during the storage period. The lowest spoilage percentage was recorded by the Fruits of 10% followed by 5% and 15%. Organoleptic evaluation of coated fruits at the end of the storage period revealed significant differences in color, taste, tenderness, appearance and overall acceptability. The 10% gum arabic coated fruits had the highest scores in most of parameters after 26 days of storage. Storage strategies to preserve its shelf life and sensorial characteristics have significance for growers, processors and sellers. It is concluded that 10% gum arabic coating effectively preserved different quality attributes of tomato fruits at even elevated storage temperatures by prolonging their shelf life.

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