Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) is one of the most widely consumed fresh vegetables in the world. Tomato, being a very nutritious and health protective food, is highly perishable in nature. Its sensitivity to postharvest diseases and physical injury limits its successful marketing. Due to this problem, simple technology is required to reduce the postharvest loss of this commodity. The use of edible coatings with plant extracts appears to be a good alternative preservation technique to extend the shelf-life of mature tomato fruit. This study was, therefore, initiated to investigate the effect of using plant extracts (garlic bulb(G) and capsicum (Cp)) incorporation with coating materials (maize starch (MS) and beeswax (Bw)) on physicochemical quality of tomato fruit stored at ambient conditions (temperature 15.5 to 20.2oC and relative humidity of 55.5 to 67.3%). The experiment was conducted using complete randomized design (CRD) of two varieties (Fetane and Melkashola) and six treatments. The tomato fruits were coated by dipping into solution for 3 minutes. The treatments prepared were on coating solution of (MS+G): 9.5% maize starch mixed with 0.5% garlic extract, (MS + Cp): 9.5% maize starch mixed with 0.5% capsicum extract, (Bw + Cp): 9.5% beewax mixed with 0.5% capsicum extract, (Bw+G): 9.5% beewax mixed with 0.5% garlic extract, 10% maize starch without plant extract, 10% beewax without plant extract and control. The treatment means were tested at significance level of P0.05 using the statistical package used was SAS 9.1.3 software. The effectiveness of plant extracts with coating materials on physicochemical quality of tomato fruits were evaluated at three (3) days intervals for 30 days. The tomato quality parameters such as decay loss, weight loss, marketability, total sugar content, pH, and beta carotene content were assessed. As storage period increased the decay loss, and weight loss were increased whereas marketability, acidity, ascorbic acid, and total sugar were decreased gradually during storage. There was a significance difference (P<0.05) between coated and uncoated fruits. The study showed that the Fetane variety has maintained more quality attribute than Melkashola variety during storage.
Keywords: Ambient temperature, Edible coating, Physicochemical quality, Plant extracts, Storage, Tomato