The recognition of an increasing demand in the Community for high-quality fruits has grown in recent years. Due to it, the objective of this project will be to develop technical measures to improve fruit quality (apple, peach, pear, ...) by reducing losses due to damage and by improving the techniques for quality grading.
Work is being done to develop measures to improve fruit quality (apple, peach, pear) by reducing losses owing to damage and by improving techniques for quality grading. Damage to apples was examined during the course of handling from picking to retailing. Guidelines have been developed for the market survey of fruit quality. Fruit samples have been collected from various conditions in the field and physiological variables (moisture, sugars, acids) and physical parameters (firmness, bruise susceptibility) are being determined. Fruit samples are also being tested following storage at ambient and cold temperatures and high and low humidities. Work is progressing on measurement of sensitivity to damage by compression and scuffing and measurement of firmness by mechanical resonance. The literature on blemish detection by image analysis has been reviewed and high speed imaging hardware is being commissioned. Work is also progressing on sensing of internal quality by spectrophotometry in the near infrared range.
In order to achieve this objective, it will be done the necessary research in the following areas :
- gathering and integrating information on quality and incidence of damage, both during handling and in the market,
- developing techniques for reducing damage susceptibility and incidence of fruit damage. Damage assessment will be correlated with fruit properties, such as variety, size, maturity level, firmness, and agronomic practices. Also climatic influences and controlled water loss will be studied in relation to susceptibility to damage,
- some devices will be designed and developed : compression damage measuring equipment, compressed air tank in order to accelerate bruise development, Simulated Electronic Products (SEP) for impact measuring, etc.,
- new methods for detecting degree of damage and external and internal quality will be investigated to improve the uniformity of fruit shipments : image analysis, mechanical resonance, spectro photometric measurements, etc.
EH26 0PH Penicuik