Profitable Stonefruit Research

Evaluation a portable Bluetooth impact probe prototype for rapid flesh firmness assessments in peaches and nectarines.

Background and aim of the study:

  • Portable non-destructive devices for rapid maturity assessment are sought after by the horticultural industries for in situ and post-harvest use
  • New handheld instruments provide the opportunity to collect large volumes of data via smartphones and wireless communication (Bluetooth/WiFi)
  • Flesh firmness is a measure of fruit maturity and quality in stone fruit

What the research found:

  • The portable probe was user-friendly, reduced data collection time and avoided fruit sample destruction
  • Predictions for peach and nectarine’s fruit firmeness were not affected by skin characteristics
  • The prediction of fruit firmeness was best in softer fruit, suggesting suitability in the post-harvest chain
  • Future studies could focus on the application to softer fruit crops, such as berries

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Hand held probe for measuring fruit firmness Portable impact probe (firmness gun) used in evaluation


  • Experiment conducted in 2019/20 on 200 fruit per cultivar
  • Peach cultivars: 'August Flame', ‘O’Henry', ‘Redhaven’ and 'September Sun’
  • Nectarine cultivars: ‘August Bright’, 'Autumn Bright' and 'September Bright’

Portable impact probe

  • Exerts a known force through a non-penetrating tip.
  • Bluetooth wireless data communication.
  • Device outputs: Peak acceleration (PA); Full width at half maximum (FWHM)

Reference determination of Flesh Firmness

A penetrometer (FT327, FACCHINI srl, Alfonsine, Italy) equipped with an 8-mm tip.

penetrometer for measuring fruit firmness A penetrometer (FT327, FACCHINI srl, Alfonsine, Italy) equipped with an 8-mm tip.


A. Scalisi1,a, M.G. O’Connell1,2, A. McGlone3, S. Langdon-Arms3

1Agriculture Victoria, Tatura, Victoria, Australia; 2Centre for Agricultural Innovation, The University of Melbourne, Australia; 3The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Hamilton, New Zealand.

The experiment was supported by the Tatura SmartFarm stone fruit experimental orchard project (SF17006 Summerfruit Orchard – Phase II) funded by Hort Innovation using Summerfruit levy and funds from the Australian Government with co-investment from Agriculture Victoria. We gratefully acknowledge the technical support and assistance of Cameron O’Connell and Laura Phillips.