Authors:Tamás Zsom, Viktória Zsom-Muha, Lien Phuong Le Nguyen, Dávid Nagy, Géza Hitka, Petra Polgári, and László Baranyai
Application of cold storage temperatures below optimum induces a high risk and threat of chilling injury (CI) in the case of sensitive commodities. Sweet pepper belongs to this group of vegetables, so our main objective was to investigate and monitor the effect of non-optimal temperatures (2.5 and 5 °C) induced stress (chilling injury) on kápia type sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) during its postharvest storage by nondestructive quality measuring methods. Fresh, semi-matured (reddish-green colored) samples of ‘Kapitány F1’ cultivar were stored at 2.5, 5 and 10 °C for 7 d followed by 7 d shelf-life. Nondestructive texture measurements were carried out by a purpose built tabletop acoustic stiffness device. Surface color and chlorophyll content related quality indices were evaluated by a chroma meter, a DA-meter® and a chlorophyll fluorescence imaging system. High resolution digital pictures were captured and analyzed for possible CI defects by means of surface color values (normalized RGB, hue and saturation). According to our results, the evaluated quality indices (DA-index®, acoustic stiffness coefficient, surface color parameters; F0, Fm, Fv and Fv/Fm chlorophyll fluorescence parameters) clearly represented the temperature dependent quality changes during low temperature storage, subsequently followed by ambient shelf-life. Samples stored under and at 5 °C showed the chilling temperature stressed symptoms of delayed and partly retarded postharvest ripening, even under simulated shelf-life conditions, but without the onset and manifestation of the characteristic visible symptoms of chilling injury. This may raise doubts and suggest possible future research areas regarding the role of non-optimal cold storage temperatures induced stress, the effect of chilling injury contributing factors and consequences.