Harvest operations are currently the main source of mechanical injury of strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa Duch.). Experiments were designed to simulate conditions encountered during commercial handling. Individual fruits were subjected to impact or compression forces with similar energy to determine the sensitivity to mechanical injury. Bruise volume was used as the measurement of injury. Bruise severity increased as a function of impact energy for both impact types. However, dropped fruits had larger bruise volume than fruits submitted to pendulum impactor at the same energy level. Doubling the impact energy (0.040 to 0.083 J) increased bruise volume by 7 times (13 to 91 mm³). Fruits dropped from 380 mm (0.075 J) showed 71% greater bruise volume than those dropped from either 130 mm (0.025 J) or 200 mm (0.040 J). Compressed fruits showed higher bruise volume than other tests. Some cultivars are more susceptible to compression forces than others. 'Sweet Charlie' berries showed bruise volume 40% higher than the others cultivars when subjected to compression. Fruits subjected to impact showed bruise volume lower than the compressed fruits, indicating the possibility to be handled and graded in a packing line.
Fragaria x ananassa Duch.; impact; compression; injury; grading