Tomatoes are one of the most important vegetable crops grown in Brazil and are among the crops that have one of the highest post-harvest losses indexes in the country. The present work aimed at evaluating impact damage observed in packing lines of fresh tomatoes as well as to determine, under laboratory conditions, quality alterations of tomato fruits submitted to impact damage in different surface types. Critical points evaluation was accomplished using an instrumented sphere. Critical transference points found showed variations in acceleration levels from 30 to 129 G (m s-2). Tests carried out under laboratory conditions showed that padded surfaces reduced up to 31% impact damage. Incidence of severe internal physical damage was evaluated by a subjective scale and increased by 79% on hard surfaces for the highest fall drop. On the other hand, it was observed an effective reduction in physical damage on fruits when padded surfaces were used. When a 10-cm drop was performed, the maximum reduction measured was 10% for hard surfaces and 5% for previously padded surfaces. For quality parameters, it was observed for high drops on hard surfaces, highest values for weight loss, total acidity, lower values for vitamin C and Soluble Solids.
Lycopersicon esculentum; instrumented sphere; acceleration (G)