Quantitative and qualitative loss of tomato fruits during mechanized harvest
ABSTRACT The use of mechanization in the harvesting of industrial tomatoes provides greater yield and speed of this stage. However, mechanical intervention in this process may alter the physiology of harvested fruits. Therefore, the objective of this study was to measure the quantitative losses of tomato fruits and to verify the physico-chemical behavior of fruits harvested based on physicochemical analysis in harvesters with different hours of use. Three self-propelled harvesters of the same brand and model with different working hours were used. Manually selected or undamaged fruits were harvested; afterwards, mechanized harvesting was carried out. Firmness, titratable acidity, soluble solids content (°Brix), pH, weight loss and fruit status classification proposed by the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Food Supply of 2002 were evaluated. Quantitative losses were divided into: losses on vines, losses on soil and total losses. It was found that the number of hours worked by the harvester did not affect the quantitative losses. The amount of overall damage in a certain amount of fruit is greater when the harvester has a greater number of hours worked. Mechanized harvesting affected the physical attributes of the fruits, such as firmness and percentage of weight loss.