Determination of stonefruit maturity

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Determination of stonefruit maturity, quality and volatile composition.

Non destructive ripeness determination

Photo: DA-Meter Measuring harvest maturity.

Comparing Stonefruit Maturity, Quality and Volatile Composition

Variable quality in summerfruit has been identified as a major impediment to producer profitability and sales in both domestic and export markets. The ability to optimize fruit maturity at harvest to meet expectations of the market of choice; to understand how fruit maturity affects storage and the impact on fruit composition and quality, particularly sugar content, firmness and volatiles profile, will greatly improve fruit consistency and quality.

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.

Dario Stefanelli 

Photo: Dario Stefanelli

PhD Projects

Christine Frisina (DEDJTR) talks about a PhD project, part of the 'Comparing stonefruit maturity, quality and volatile composition' project at Agribiosciences in Bundoora, Victoria.

International Collaboration

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.

Measuring Fruit Maturity - Videos:

Introduction to the DA Meter

DA meter in the Field

News story:

Video (50 minutes) Lecture: Capitalising on the Importance of Fruit Maturity through Innovation Technology by Dr Dario Stefanell (Agriculture Victoria, DEDJTR)

Agribiosciences, Bundoora August 2015

Video Lecture: Pre and post-harvest management of fruit maturity and quality for market access of Stonefruit, is a presentation by Dr Dario Steffanelli, Agriculture Victoria, at the Regional Innovation Forum - ‘Delivering innovation through the horticulture supply chain’ Horticulture Centre of Excellence, Tatura May 2016 

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