Valero Ubierna, Constantino and Ruiz-Altisent, Margarita and Cubeddu, Rinaldo
Optical detection of mealiness in apples using laser TDRS..
In: "4 th.International Conference on Postharvest Science", 26-31, marzo-2000, Jerusalen (Israel).
Mealiness is a textural attribute related to an internal fruit disorder that involves quality loss. It is characterised by the combination of abnormal softness of the fruit and absence of free juiciness in the mouth when eaten by the consumer. Recent research concluded with the development of precise instrumental procedure to measure a scale of mealiness based on the combination of several rheological properties and empirical magnitudes. In this line, time-domain laser reflectance spectroscopy (TDRS) is a new medical technology, used to characterise the optical properties of tissues, and to locate affected areas like tumours. Among its advantages compared to more traditional spectroscopic techniques, there is the feasibility to asses simultaneously and independently two optical parameters: the absorption of the light inside the irradiated body, and the scattering of the photons across the tissues, at each wavelength, generating two coefficients (µa, absorption coeff.; and µ's, transport scattering coeff.). If it is assumed that they are related respectively to chemical components and to physical properties of the sample, TDRS can be applied to the quantification of chemicals and the measurement of the rheological properties (i.e. mealiness estimation) at the same time. Using VIS & NIR lasers as light sources, TDRS was applied in this work to Golden Delicious and Cox apples (n=90), conforming several batches of untreated samples and storage-treated (20°C & 95%RH) to promote the development of mealiness. The collected database was clustered into different groups according to their instrumental test values (Barreiro et al, 1998). The optical coefficients were used as explanatory variables when building discriminant analysis functions for mealiness, achieving a classification score above 80% of correctly identified mealy versus fresh apples.