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Color test enhances tomato analyzer software.

Color is key when attracting consumers to fresh produce. It plays an important role in horticultural crop production and marketing. USDA grades are largely determined by the amount of off-color tissue they have.

Color is one of the best indicators of quality for fresh vegetables and fruit

In tomatoes, color and color uniformity contribute specifically to quality and marketability. For example, yellow shoulder disorder (YSD), a ripening disorder that results in blotchy discoloration under the skin of the tomato, is a major concern. Discoloration caused by YSD reduces the concentration of nutrients such as lycopene and beta-carotene. Reducing YSD in tomatoes could benefit producers, processors and consumers alike.

Researchers at The Ohio State University worked with a new tool that's part of the university's Tomato Analyzer (TA) software called Color Test (CT). CT allows scanning devices to be calibrated using color standards. The objective of their research was to implement a new digital image analysis tool.

TACT was designed to collect objective measurements. It facilitates data collection and management, and requires equipment that is relatively affordable. Traditional tools used to measure the color of vegetables and fruit require extensive environmental controls, especially for the quality and quantity of light, shadow and reflection. In contrast, the flatbed scanners used with TACT require only a cardboard box as a cover to minimize the effect of shadows. The TA was originally designed to analyze the morphology of tomatoes. The researchers developed a color measurement module to expand the array of objective phenotypic analyses.

TACT was applied to fruits and vegetables of different colors and color uniformity. It was able to accurately capture and describe the characteristic color for each crop when applied to fruits and vegetables of different color and color uniformity. Color uniformity was also well characterized for fruit that tend to have nonuniform pigmentation, such as strawberry. TACT proved to be precise for the digital image analysis of color.

The scientists believe that TACT could be used to analyze the color of fresh crops and to evaluate the discoloration of products after they have been processed or cooked.

Further information. David Francis, Agricultural Research and Development Center, Horticulture and Crop Science, The Ohio State University, 210 Williams Hall, Wooster, OH 44691; phone: 330-263-3839; email:
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Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Date:Apr 1, 2012
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