Tomato Firmness and Shelf-Life Increased by Application of Stimulated Calcium

Crops Journal
23 October 2023

Authors

Jolyon Dodgson, Anna K Weston and David J Marks
Levity Crop Science, Crowhall Farm, Newsham Hall Lane, Woodplumpton, Preston PR4 0AS, UK

Abstract

Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) had almost 190 million tonnes produced in 2021. Tomato fruit suffer losses of up to 50% during harvest and transport, which causes financial hardship, reduces the amount of food available and causes environmental harm. Calcium plays an important role in cell wall strength. This work assessed the use of a calcium transport stimulant (MCAS) to increase the firmness of tomato fruit in the laboratory and the foliar application to tomato plants. Then, handling damage was simulated. In the laboratory, the calcium with MCAS significantly increased the fruit firmness compared to the untreated and calcium without MCAS, which were not significantly different. When calcium with MCAS was applied to tomato plants foliarly before harvest, the calcium with MCAS-treated fruit were significantly firmer than the untreated or calcium without MCAS-treated fruit for up to 10 weeks after harvest, and this was achieved by applying only 0.91 kg haβˆ’1 calcium. Finally, when fruit were exposed to a simulated drop, the calcium with MCAS-treated fruit remained firmer than the undamaged fruit or dropped fruit with calcium without MCAS. Calcium with MCAS could significantly increase the fruit firmness and increase the shelf-life of tomatoes while applying less calcium.

Keywords

Solanum lycopersicum L; Micro Tom; Cherry Tomato; Calcium Transport Stimulant; MCAS

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