Document Type : Research paper


Department of Horticultural Sciences, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran


Sensitivity of tomato fruits to chilling injury limits its storage and marketability. This study investigated the effect of hot water treatment (HWT) on reducing the consequences of chilling injury (CI) with respect to quality attributes of tomatoes during storage. Tomatoes were harvested at three ripening stages: mature green, pink, and red; dipped in hot water at 45°C for 15 min; and stored at three storage temperature conditions: 5°C, 13°C, and a simulated condition (SC: 3 days at 25°C and then at 5°C) representing the time between harvest and consumption by consumer. Quality analysis was carried out at the beginning of the experiment and every 10 days of storage 3 days of shelf life evaluation. Fruit color, lycopene content, weight loss, and CI were evaluated during the experiment. HWT reduced CI in mature green tomatoes but had little effect in pink and red fruits. It also caused delay in surface color development and reduced weight loss. During storage, heated mature green fruits often had significantly more lycopene content but low a* compared with unheated ones, whereas in heated red fruits, both a* and lycopene content were lower than unheated ones. This study showed that HWT could be used to reduce CI in mature green tomatoes, but not in pink and red fruits.


  1. Bergevin, M., G.P. L’Heureux, J.E. Thompson, and C. Willemot. 1993. Effect of Chilling and Subsequent Storage at 20˚C on Electrolyte Leakage and Phospholipid Fatty Acid Composition of Tomato Pericarp. Physiol. Plant. 87:522–527.
  2. Cantwell, M.I. and R.F. Kasmire. 2002. Postharvest Handling Systems: Fruit Vegetables, pp. 407–423. In: A.A. Kader (ed.) Postharvest Technology of Horticultural Crops. University of California, Agriculture and Nature Resources, Davis.
  3. Davies, B.H. 1965. Analysis of Carotenoid Pigments, In: T.W. Goodwin (ed.) Chemistry and Biochemistry of Plant Pigments. Academic Press, New York, USA. 530.
  4. Fallik, E., S. Grinberg, S. Alkalai, O. Yekutieli, A. Wiseblum, R. Regev, H. Beres, and E. Bar-Lev. 1999. A Unique Rapid Hot Water Treatment to Improve Storage Quality of Sweet Pepper. Postharvest Biol. Technol. 15:25-32.
  5. Fallik, E. 2004. Prestorage Hot Water Treatments (Immersion, Rinsing and Brushing). Postharvest Biol. Technol. 32:125-134.
  6. Hakim, A., E. Kaukovirta, E. Pehu, and I. Voipio. 1997. Effect of Hot Water, Immersion Time, and Length of Storage on Chilling Injury of Tomato Fruit. J. Veg. Crop Prod. 3:17-27.
  7. Jing, Y., F. Mao-run, Z. Yu-ying, and M. Lin-chun. 2009. Reduction of Chilling Injury and Ultrastructural Damage in Cherry Tomato Fruits after Hot Water Treatment. Agr. Sci. China 8:304-310.
  8. King, M.M. and P.M. Ludford. 1983. Chilling Injury and Electrolyte Leakage in Fruit of Different Tomato Cultivars. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 108:74-77.
  9. Lu, J., M.T. Charles, C. Vigneault, B. Goyette, and G.S.V. Raghavan. 2010. Effect of Heat Treatment Uniformity on Tomato Ripening and Chilling Injury. Postharvest Biol. Technol. 56:155-162. 

10. Lurie, S. 1998. Postharvest Heat Treatments of Horticultural Crops. Hort. Rev. 22:91-121.

11. Lurie, S. and J.D. Klein. 1992. Ripening Characteristics of Tomatoes Stored at 12˚C and 2˚C Following a Prestorage Heat Treatment. Sci. Hort. 51:55-64.

12. McDonald, R.E., T.G. McCollum, and E.A. Baldwin. 1999. Temperature of Hot Water Treatments Influences Tomato Fruit Quality Following Low-temperature Storage. Postharvest Biol. Technol. 16:147-155.

13. Paull, R.E. 1990. Chilling Injury of Crops of Tropical and Subtropical Origin, pp. 17-36. In: C.Y. Wang (ed.) Chilling Injury of Horticultural Crops. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA.

14. Rubatzky, V.E. and M. Yamaguchi (eds.). 1997. World Vegetables: Principles, Production, and Nutritive Values. Chapman & Hall, New York, USA.

15. Saltveit, M.E. 2005. Postharvest biology and handling, pp. 305–324. In: E. Heuvelink (ed.) Tomatoes. CAB International, Wallingford.

16. Schirra, M. and G. D’Hallewin. 1997. Storage Performance of Fortune Mandarins Following Hot Water Dips. Postharvest Biol. Technol. 10:229-237.

17. Sozzi, G.O., O. Cascone, and A.A. Fraschina. 1996. Effect of a High-Temperature Stress on Endo-β-mannanase and α- and β-galactosidase Activities during Tomato Fruit Ripening. Postharvest Biol. Technol. 9:49-63.

18. USDA, 1991. United States Standards for Grades of Fresh Tomatoes. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, P. 13.

19. Whitaker, B.D. 1994. A Reassessment of Heat Treatment as a Means of Reducing. Postharvest Biol. Technol. 4:75-83.

20. Wills, R.B.H. and V.V.V. Ku. 2002. Use of 1-MCP to Extend the Time to Ripen of Green Tomatoes and Postharvest Life of Ripe Tomatoes. Postharvest Biol. Technol. 26:85-90.