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Susceptibility of apples to bruising inside ventilated corrugated paperboard packages during simulated transport damage


The incidence of fruit postharvest losses and waste due to mechanical damage during handling is a major problem in the fresh produce industry Among the various range of force loading conditions experienced during handling and transportation, vibration is one of the key factors which may result in fruit bruise damage and the type of package used during handling of fruit could significantly affect the physical quality of the fruit. A simulated transport study was used to assess the susceptibility of apple fruit inside two ventilated corrugated paperboard (VCP) packages (MK4 and MK6) commonly used in fresh produce industry for packing apple fruit. An electro-dynamic shaker was used to excite vibrations at three frequencies (9, 12 and 15 Hz) and 0.9 g amplitude for four hours, which is usually adopted for truck transport simulation. Packaging transmissibility and incidence of bruise damage were measured at different frequencies. Results showed that both the incidence and severity of apple bruising were affected by package design and frequency. For both package designs at the three vibration frequencies investigated, packaging transmissibility ranged from 100 to 250%, with the highest transmissibility observed on the MK6 package with a lower length–to–height ratio at 12 Hz compared to the MK4 package. Apple fruit inside the MK4 package with higher length–to–height ratio had less damage than fruit inside the MK6 package. Irrespective of the package design, apple fruit on the top layer were more susceptible to bruising and the range of the proportion of bruised apples was between 50 and 74% at all the three frequencies, which are rather extreme conditions that usually occur when loads of packed fruit damage during transport.