Food Science and Technology Department


Department of Food Science and Technology: Faculty Publications

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An ASABE Meeting Presentation DOI: Paper Number: 2200719


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Cooling tomatoes after harvesting and keeping them refrigerated during their transportation is a key step toward preserving the quality attributes of tomatoes. This is a challenging task to accomplish in Nigeria, mainly because shipments of tomatoes from the tomato-producing states in northern Nigeria to the non-producing states in southern Nigeria were predominately not transported in a refrigerated ambient condition. To minimize postharvest losses of tomatoes during transportation, quantification of changes in quality would be extremely valuable. For this purpose, a digital tomato twin was developed based on mechanistic physics-based modeling. This digital twin simulated the actual thermal profile of tomatoes during transportation, based on sensed ambient environmental conditions. The impacts of the adoption of a low-cost, simple plastic packaging container compared with the traditional container (raffia baskets) on tomato's quality evolution during transportation were analyzed in-silico using the developed digital twin. Generally, the values of colour parameter (a*), firmness (N), and lycopene content (LC, mg/100ml) predicted by the digital twin model for tomatoes transported in raffia baskets were all higher than prediction for plastic container. For example, in shipment #2 the predicted colour parameter (a*) was 46.9 % more than the value predicted for the tomatoes in the plastic container at the end of the transportation. Similarly, lycopene content (LC) increased from 1.14 mg/100ml to 2.58 mg/100ml and 1.80 mg/100ml for raffia baskets and plastic container and firmness (N) decreased by 89% and 58 % in the raffia basket and plastic container respectively.

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