Resistance to airflow and moisture loss of table grapes inside multi-scale packaging

Ngcobo, Mduduzi Elijah Khulekani (2013-03)

Thesis (PhD(Agric))--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Postharvest quality of fresh table grapes is usually preserved through cooling using cold air. However, cooling efficiencies are affected by the multi-scale packaging that is commercially used for handling grapes after harvest. There is usually spatial temperature variability of grapes that often results in undesirable quality variations during postharvest handling and marketing. This heterogeneity of grape berry temperature inside multi-packages is largely due to uneven cold airflow patterns that are caused by airflow resistance through multi-package components. The aims of this study were therefore to conduct an in-depth experimental investigation of the contribution of grape multi-packaging components to total airflow resistance, cooling rates and patterns of grapes inside the different commercially used multi-packages, and to assess the effects of these multi-packages on table grape postharvest quality attributes. A comprehensive study of moisture loss from grapes during postharvest storage and handling, as well as a preliminary investigation of the applicability of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling in predicting the transport phenomena of heat and mass transfer of grapes during cooling and cold storage in multi-packages were included in this study. Total pressure drop through different table grapes packages were measured and the percentage contribution of each package component and the fruit bulk were determined. The liner films contributed significantly to total pressure drop for all the package combinations studied, ranging from 40.33±1.15% for micro-perforated liner film to 83.34±2.13 % for non-perforated liner film. The total pressure drop through the grape bulk (1.40±0.01 % to 9.41±1.23 %) was the least compared to the different packaging combinations with different levels of liner perforation. The cooling rates of grapes in the 4.5 kg multi-packaging were significantly (P<0.05) slower than that of grapes in 5 kg punnet multi-packaging, where the 4.5 kg box resulted in a seven-eighths cooling time of 30.30-46.14% and 12.69-25.00% more than that of open-top and clamshell punnet multi-packages, respectively. After 35 days in cold storage at -0.5°C, grape bunches in the 5 kg punnet box combination (open-top and clamshell) had weight loss of 2.01 – 3.12%, while the bunches in the 4.5 kg box combination had only 1.08% weight loss. During the investigation of the effect of different carton liners on the cooling rate and quality attributes of ‘Regal seedless’ table grapes in cold storage, the non-perforated liner films maintained relative humidity (RH) close to 100 %. This high humidity inside non-perforated liner films resulted in delayed loss of stem quality but significantly (P ≤ 0.05) increased the incidence of SO2 injury and berry drop during storage compared to perforated liners. The perforated liners improved fruit cooling rates but significantly (P ≤ 0.05) reduced RH. The low RH in perforated liners also resulted in an increase in stem dehydration and browning compared to non-perforated liners. The moisture loss rate from grapes packed in non-perforated liner films was significantly (P<0.05) lower compared to the moisture loss rate from grapes packed in perforated liner films (120 x 2 mm and 36 x 4 mm). The effective moisture diffusivity values for stem parts packed in non-perforated liner films were lower than the values obtained for stem parts stored without packaging liners, and varied from 5.06x10-14 to 1.05x10-13 m2s-1. The dehydration rate of stem parts was inversely proportional to the size (diameter) of the stem parts. Dehydration rate of stems exposed (without liners) to circulating cold air was significantly (P<0.05) higher than the dehydration rates of stems packed in non-perforated liner film. Empirical models were successfully applied to describe the dehydration kinetics of the different parts of the stem. The potential of cold storage humidification in reducing grape stem dehydration was investigated. Humidification delayed and reduced the rate of stem dehydration and browning; however, it increased SO2 injury incidence on table grape bunches and caused wetting of the packages. The flow phenomenon during cooling and handling of packed table grapes was also studied using a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) model and validated using experimental results. There was good agreement between measured and predicted results. The result demonstrated clearly the applicability of CFD models to determine optimum table grape packaging and cooling procedures.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Naoes kwaliteit van vars tafeldruiwe word gewoonlik behou deur middel van verkoeling van die produk met koue lug. Ongelukkig word die effektiwiteit van dié verkoeling beïnvloed deur die multivlakverpakking wat kommersieel gebruik word vir die naoes hantering van druiwe. Daar is gewoonlik ruimtelike variasie in die temperatuur van die druiwe wat ongewenste variasie in die kwaliteit van die druiwe veroorsaak tydens naoes hantering en bemarking. Die heterogene druiwetemperature binne die multivlakverpakkings word grootliks veroorsaak deur onegalige lugvloeipatrone van die koue lug as gevolg van die weerstand wat die verskillende komponente van die multivlakverpakkings teen lugvloei bied. Die doel van hierdie studie was dus om ‘n indiepte eksperimentele ondersoek te doen om die bydrae van multivlakverpakking op totale lugvloeiweerstand, verkoelingstempo’s en –patrone van druiwe binne kommersieël gebruikte multivlakverpakkings te ondersoek, asook die effek van die multivalkverpakking op die naoes kwaliteit van druiwe te bepaal. ‘n Omvattende studie van vogverlies van druiwe tydens naoes opberging en hantering, asook ‘n voorlopige ondersoek na die bruikbaarheid van ‘n berekende vloei dinamika (BVD) model om die bewegingsfenomeen van hitte en massa oordrag van druiwe tydens verkoeling en koelopberging in multivlakverpakkings te voorspel, was ook by die studie ingesluit. Die totale drukverskil deur verskillende tafeldruif verpakkingssisteme is gemeet en die persentasie wat deur elke verpakkingskomponent en die vruglading bygedra is, is bereken. Van al die verpakkingskombinasies wat gemeet is, het die voeringfilms betekenisvol tot die totale drukverskil bygedra, en het gewissel van 40.33±1.15% vir die mikro geperforeerde voeringfilm tot 83.34±2.13 % vir die nie-geperforeerde voeringfilm. Die totale drukverskil oor die druiflading (1.40±0.01 % to 9.41±1.23 %) was die minste in vergelyking met die verskillende verpakkingskombinasies met die verskillende vlakke van voeringperforasies. Die verkoelingstempos van die druiwe in die 4.5 kg multiverpakking was betekenisvol (P<0.05) stadiger as vir die druiwe in die 5 kg handmandjie (‘punnet’) multiverpakking. Die 4.5 kg karton het ‘n seweagstes verkoelingstyd van 30.30-46.14% en 12.69-25.00% langer, respektiewelik, as oop-vertoon en toeslaan-‘punnet’ multiverpakkings gehad. Na 35 dae van koelopberging by -0.5°C het druiwetrosse in die 5 kg ‘punnet’-kartonkombinasies (oop-vertoon en toeslaan-’punnet’) ‘n massaverlies van 2.01 – 3.12% gehad, terwyl die trosse in die 4.5 kg kartonkombinasie slegs ‘n 1.08% massaverlies gehad het. In die ondersoek na die effek van verskillende kartonvoerings op die verkoelingstempo en kwaliteitseienskappe van ‘Regal seedless’ tafeldruiwe tydens koelopbering, het die nie-geperforeerde kartonvoerings ‘n relatiewe humiditeit (RH) van byna 100 % gehandhaaf. Hierdie hoë humiditeit in die nie-geperforeerde voeringfilms het ‘n verlies in stingelkwaliteit vertraag, maar het die voorkoms van SO2-skade en loskorrels betekenisvol (P < 0.05) verhoog in vergelyking met geperforeerde voerings. Die geperforeerde voerings het vrugverkoelingstempos verbeter, maar het die RH betekenisvol (P ≤ 0.05) verlaag. Die lae RH in die geperforeerde voerings het gelei tot ‘n verhoging in stingeluitdroging en –verbruining in vergelyking met die nie-geperforeerde voerings. Die vogverliestempo uit druiwe verpak in nie-geperforeerde voeringfilms was betekenisvol (P<0.05) stadiger in vergelyking met druiwe verpak in geperforeerde voeringfilms (120 x 2 mm and 36 x 4 mm). Die effektiewe vogdiffusiewaardes vir stingelgedeeltes verpak in nie-geperforeerde voeringfilms was stadiger as vir stingelgedeeltes wat verpak is sonder verpakkingsvoerings, en het gevarieer van 5.06x10-14 – 1.05x10-13 m2s-1. Die uitdrogingstempo van stingelgedeeltes was omgekeerd eweredig aan die grootte (deursnit) van die stingelgedeeltes. Die uitdrogingstempo van stingels wat blootgestel was (sonder voerings) aan sirkulerende koue lug was betekenisvol (P<0.05) hoër as die uitdrogingstempos van stingels wat verpak was in nie-geperforeerde voeringfilms. Empiriese modelle is gebruik om die uitdrogingskinetika van die verskillende stingelgedeeltes te beskryf. Die potensiaal van koelkamer humidifisering in die vermindering van die uitdroging van druifstingels is ondersoek. Humidifisering het stingeluitdroging vertraag en het die tempo van stingeluitdroging en -verbruining verminder, maar dit het die voorkoms van SO2-skade op die tafeldruiftrosse verhoog en het die verpakkings laat nat word. Die bewegingsfenomeen tydens verkoeling en hantering van verpakte tafeldruiwe is ook ondersoek deur gebruik te maak van ‘n BVD model en is bevestig met eksperimentele resultate. Daar was goeie ooreenstemming tussen gemete en voorspelde resultate. Die resultaat demonstreer duidelik die toepaslikheid van BVD-modelle om die optimum tafeldruifverpakkings- en verkoelingsprosedures te bepaal.

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