Agriculture Victoria’s researchers at Agribio, Bundoora, are looking at ways to optimise fruit maturity at harvest, using non-destructive technologies, to meet market expectations and to understand how fruit maturity affects storage and its impact on fruit composition and quality.
Photo: DA-Meter Measuring harvest maturity.

Comparing stonefruit maturity, quality and volatile composition (aromas)

Variable maturity at harvest affects fruit responses to shelf life, cold storage and consequent quality through the handling chain. Fruit composition and flavour volatiles in particular, are a fundamental element of fruit quality and therefore consumer acceptance. The fruit volatile profile is affected by fruit maturity on the tree, during postharvest storage and consequent ripening.

This project aims to generate knowledge of the interaction between harvest maturity measured by the DA-Meter, storage and ripening behaviour and resultant effects on soluble solids content (SCC i.e. brix - fruit sweetness index), firmness and volatiles profile. This project is linked to the stonefruit trial orchard in Tatura and to 'optimal ripening protocols' to which will deliver preliminary data on the varieties used and will add important information for the protocols.

This project will identify maturity classes to optimize harvest timing depending on the market of choice, with particular emphasis to export, for up to 10 nectarine and peach varieties. The project will generate cold storage and ripening protocols.  The results will provide knowledge to optimise fruit quality and consistency on domestic and export markets. Consistent, high quality fruit will increase consumer demand and provide a point of difference for Victorian stonefruit increasing both domestic and export markets by at least 5% equating to an increase in export value alone of $15 to $20 million per annum.

Video: Introduction with Christine Frisina
Christine Frisina Stonefruit PhD

Christine Frisina, from Agriculture Victoria (Agribiosciences in Bundoora, Victoria), discusses the work on comparing stonefruit maturity, quality and volatile composition such as the interactions between aromas and cold storage.

Picking fruit for optimal flavour and storage - presentation by Christine Frisina at the 2017 Stonefruit Research Roadshow (slides only)

Video: fruit volatiles in stonefruit and pear associated with aroma in post harvest storage

Allessandro Cecarelli, PhD student from the University of Bologna, Italy, in collaboration with RMIT University and Agriculture Victoria (DEDJTR), talks about changes in fruit volatiles in stonefruit and pear associated with aroma in post harvest storage.

Videos: Measuring fruit maturity using the DA meter

Measuring fruit maturity: DA Meter

Dr Dario Stefanelli introduces the DA Meter (non-destructive fruit maturity measurements) and the concept of measuring fruit maturity in the field to determine harvest timing.

Measuring Fruit Maturity DA Meter in the Field

Dr Dario Stefanelli discusses using the DA meter in the fruit orchard to determine fruit maturity.

DA-Meter protocols in the field Observations and Results - presentation by Dr Dario Stefanelli at the 2017 Stonefruit Research Roadshow (slides only)