Changes in ripening-related quality traits of tomatoes influenced by water deficit

The diversity preserved within the European long shelf life tomato landraces (LSL) is a unique source to design high-quality tomato products better adapted to changing environmental conditions and, thereby, reducing food losses. The adaptation of LSL to water deficit (WD) management practices and their postharvest keeping ability can be used as tools to concomitantly enhance fruit quality and sustainable production. In this study, researchers investigated the effect of WD conditions and the plant growing environment (open field vs. tunnel) on quality traits of two genotypes of the Penjar LSL variety (modern hybrid (MV) and landrace (LR)).

Changes in ripening-related quality traits (fruit ethylene production, respiration rate, firmness, color, soluble solids content, titratable acidity, and the content of antioxidants, as well as specific sugars and acids) in response to the different preharvest factors were evaluated at the time of harvest and after a short period of storage (30 days), following actual commercial practices. Significant differences among genotypes were encountered for most quality traits at the time of harvest and higher intra- and inter-environment heterogeneity was observed in the LR than in the MV genotype. In general, Penjar tomatoes exhibit a low physiological activity (ethylene production, 0.56–1.33 µL kg−1 h−1, respiration rate: 0.015–0.026 mg CO2 kg−1 h−1) at harvest.

In both genotypes, WD increased to a different extent the fruit external color (redness, lightness) as well as the sensory (SSC) and nutritional (antioxidant capacity) fruit profiles. By contrast, the growing environment had little impact on most fruit quality traits. Postharvest storage only led to a slight reduction in the fruit respiration and ethylene production, lower sugars and acids content, enhanced color, and no firmness changes. Overall, the results from this study demonstrate that selecting the appropriate genotypes is the most important step towards the design of high-quality LSL tomatoes, while WD and short-term storage can be used by farmers as a strategy to differentiate the product quality in specific market niches.

Read the complete research at

Casals, Joan & Rull, Aurora & Giné Bordonaba, Jordi. (2021). Changes in Ripening-Related Quality Traits of Long Shelf Life Tomatoes as Influenced by Water Deficit and Short-Term Postharvest Storage. Agronomy. 11. 2304. 10.3390/agronomy11112304. 

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