A Comparison of Firmness Assessment Instruments for Fresh Blueberry Fruit

Moggia, Claudia; Valdes, Yeldo; Arancibia, Alejandra; Valdes, Marcelo; Radrigan, Catalina; Icaza, Gloria;; Beaudry, Randolph; Lobos, Gustavo A.


Fresh fruit from northern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) and rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei) are highly perishable, so reaching distant markets while maintaining superior quality and value is a challenge. Although firmness is one of the most critical traits of blueberries (Vaccinium sp.), most of the industry relies on a subjective-tactile assessment or on the use of lowcost texture analyzers, whereas scientists tend to rely on the FirmTech II instrument. In the present study, the FirmTech II was evaluated as a texture analyzer and compared with tactile estimation, two other FirmTech II devices, and three relatively inexpensive durometers (Penefel, Durofel, and DM1600). Tests were run for fruit previously segregated by tactile (T) measurements into three classes of firmness: Soft-T, Moderate-T, and Firm-T; fruit were classified into instrument-based (I) categories of texture: Soft-I, Moderate-I, and Firm-I using the FirmTech II instrument. The level of coincidence between T and I assessments were higher in the soft (90.7% to 92.6%) and moderate (69.6% to 78.2%) classes compared with the firm class (51.6% to 61.4%). Among firmness categories, T and I assessments tended to agree; none of the Soft-T fruit were classed as Firm-I. In comparisons between equivalently calibrated FirmTech II devices, concordance always decreased as fruit firmness increased, indicating that more reproducible readings for a given instrument could be expected from softer fruit. Dual measurements on a single fruit for FirmTech II and a second device yielded variable, but significant correlation coefficients (Penefel: r(2) = 0.61 to 0.67; Durofel: r(2) = 0.48 to 0.61; DM1600: r(2) = 0.08 to 0.49). The highest correlation existed between two FirmTech II devices (r(2) = 0.94 to 0.95). However, correlations between the FirmTech II and second devices among the three firmness classes yielded very low correlation coefficients (Penefel: r(2) = 0.09 to 0.40; Durofel: r(2) = 0.05 to 0.32; DM1600: r(2) = 0.00 to 0.25; FirmTech II: 0.03 to 0.33), suggesting that although all instruments were suitable for evaluating across broad ranges of fruit firmness, they were all similarly unsuitable within a narrow firmness range (e.g., for all soft or all firm fruit). Given the subjectivity of the tactile measurement and the range of variability between the evaluated alternatives, both FirmTech II and Penefel performed better in soft fruit but not as well in moderate or firm fruit. Therefore, among the more economical durometer devices, Penefel could be used by the industry to discriminate soft fruit from moderately firm or firm fruit. The results highlight the relevance of studying the predictive capacity of a particular instrument and to understand the performance of that instrument within a particular range of firmness values.

Más información

Título según WOS: A Comparison of Firmness Assessment Instruments for Fresh Blueberry Fruit
Título de la Revista: HORTTECHNOLOGY
Volumen: 32
Número: 2
Fecha de publicación: 2022
Página de inicio: 172
Página final: +


Notas: ISI