Maturity indexing, pharmacological properties and postharvest performance of pomegranate fruit grown in South Africa

Fawole, Olaniyi Amos (2013-12)

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


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The development and application of science-based tools for determining optimum fruit maturity and postharvest handling protocols to maintain quality and reduce losses during postharvest handling and marketing is essential to maintain the competitiveness of the emerging pomegranate industry in South Africa. Currently, there are no quality standards for the South African pomegranate industry, neither is there a general consensus on the optimal harvest maturity indices for fruit cultivars. These information are important to ensure the delivery of good quality fruit to consumers, particularly for long supply chains. The overall aims of this study were (a) to develop science-based management tools for determining optimum maturity indices and storage performance of pomegranate fruit cultivars grown in South Africa, and (b) to characterise the physico-chemical and pharmacological properties of selected cultivars relevant to postharvest handling and industrial applications. In Section II, seasonal studies on pomegranate (‘Baghwa’ and ‘Ruby’) fruit growth and the evolution of maturity indices during development were conducted. Significant increases in total soluble solids (TSS), sugars (glucose and fructose) and anthocyanin composition, coupled with significant decline in titratable acidity (TA), organic acids and total phenolics (TP) occurred with advancing fruit maturity. Fruit at advanced maturity stages were characterized by intense pigmentation of peel and aril, which coincided with maximum accumulation of anthocyanins. Among all the major maturity indices investigated, TSS, BrimA and anthocyanins did not show significant (p<0.05) seasonal variability, and strong correlations were found among the indices. In combination, these indices accounted for fruit juice sugar content, acidity and colour and could serve as reliable markers to determine optimal maturity for both pomegranate cultivars. The studies in Section III focused on characterization of postharvest quality including nutritional, medicinal and antioxidant properties of fruit parts. Quality attributes of eight commercial cultivars were analysed by cluster analysis, which enabled the cultivars to be separated into two clusters (cluster 1 = ‘Ruby’, ‘Arakta’ and ‘Ganesh’; cluster 2 = ‘Bhagwa’, ‘Acco’ and ‘Herskawitz’) and two ungrouped cultivars (‘Molla de Elche’ and ‘Wonderful’) based on important quality attributes (size, texture, colour, soluble solids, acidity, juiciness and phenolics). Furthermore, pomegranate fruit peel extracts were studied to highlight their potential for value-adding in pharmaceutical and other industrial applications. The results showed that fruit peels of the investigated cultivars possess strong antibacterial, antioxidant and antityrosinase activities, and hence could be exploited as potential sources of natural antimicrobial and antioxidant agents, as well as a potential tyrosinase inhibitor. The research reported in Section IV investigated the effects of harvest maturity and storage conditions on postharvest quality and nutritional value of ‘Bhagwa’ and ‘Ruby’ cultivars. Fruit harvested at commercial maturity were stored at 5±0.3°C, 7±0.5°C and 10±0.4°C with 92±3% RH and at room temperature (20±2.2°C, 65±5.5% RH) for 16 weeks. Fruit physiological responses and quality were affected by storage condition, with the maximum levels of respiration occurring at higher temperature and extended storage duration. Fruit colour and antioxidant capacity varied slightly among storage temperatures, with total soluble solids and titratable acidity decreasing gradually over time at different temperatures. Considering that fruit stored at 5°C and 92% RH had significantly reduced weight loss, low incidence of physiological disorders and best results in maintaining flavour attributes (TSS and TA, TSS:TA ratio), the investigated cultivars may be stored at 5°C and >92% RH for 8 - 12 weeks. In paper 9 (Section IV), the research investigated the relationships between instrumental and sensory measurements of pomegranate fruit at different harvest maturities during storage and shelf life. Mature ‘Bhagwa’ fruit harvested at different times could not be discriminated by sensory attributes assessed by a trained panel. However, TSS (R2 = 0.677) and juice content (R2 = 0.512) were the two most decisive quality attributes at shelf life related to harvest maturity status. For ‘Ruby’, however, a combination of instrumental and sensory attributes appeared to be influential in discriminating mature fruit harvested at different times, with TSS:TA ratio being the most decisive (R2 = 0.654) in distinguishing different fruit harvests, followed by sweet taste (R2 = 0.474) and hue angle (R2 = 0.431). The results showed that to ensure the best post-storage quality of ‘Bhagwa’, the optimum harvest maturity was between 167 - 175 DAFB (H2 and H3) when fruit reached maximum TSS level (>16°Brix; H3) and juice content (>65 mL/100 g aril; H2). However, for ‘Ruby’, this study indicated that the optimum harvest date was at 143 DAFB (H2) when TSS:TA ratio was >55, which coincided with significantly higher sensory rating for sweet taste after shelf life of fruit at H2 than H1 and H3, respectively. The results from this thesis provide new understanding and better insights on fruit characteristics of major pomegranate cultivars grown in South Africa. Overall, the study provides new knowledge on science-based tools for assessing fruit readiness for harvest as well as storage conditions to maintain fruit postharvest quality and reduce losses. It also provides scientific information on phytochemical contents and antioxidant compounds in fruit to promote value-adding of pomegranate as a good raw material with potential applications in health food products and other industrial applications such as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING; Die ontwikkeling en toepassing van wetenskapgegronde instrumente vir die bepaling van optimale vrugrypheid en naoes-hanteringsprotokolle om gedurende die naoes-hantering en -bemarking van vrugte gehalte te behou en verliese te verminder, is noodsaaklik om die mededingendheid van die ontluikende granaatbedryf in Suid-Afrika te verseker. Tans is daar nie enige gehaltestandaarde vir die Suid-Afrikaanse granaatbedryf óf algemene eenstemmigheid oor die optimale oesrypheidsaanwysers vir vrugtekultivars nie. Hierdie inligting is belangrik om die naoes-lewering van uithalervrugte aan verbruikers te verseker, veral vir lang verskaffingskettings. Die oorkoepelende doelwitte van hierdie studie was (a) om wetenskapgegronde bestuursinstrumente te ontwikkel vir die vasstelling van optimale rypheidsaanwysers en bergingsprestasie van granaatkultivars wat in Suid-Afrika verbou word, en (b) om die fisiko-chemiese eienskappe en farmakologiese kenmerke van gekose kultivars te tipeer. In deel II is seisoenale studies oor granaatgroei en die ontwikkeling van rypheidsaanwysers gedurende groei onderneem. Namate vrugte ryp geword het, is beduidende toenames in totale oplosbare vaste stowwe (TSS), suikers (glukose en fruktose) en antosianien-samestelling opgemerk, sowel as ’n beduidende afname in titreerbare suur (TA), organiese suur en totale fenol (TP). Vrugte in gevorderde stadia van rypheid is gekenmerk deur intense pigmentasie van die skil en aril, wat met maksimum opbou van antosianien verband gehou het. Van ál die belangrike rypheidsaanwysers wat ondersoek is, het TSS, BrimA en antosianien onbeduidende (p<0.05) seisoenale veranderlikheid getoon, en is sterk verbande tussen die aanwysers opgemerk. Gesamentlik sou die aanwysers kon rekenskap gee van sapsuikerinhoud, -suurgehalte én -kleur, en sou dit dus as betroubare rypheidsmerkers kon dien om optimale rypheid vir albei granaatkultivars te bepaal. Die studies in deel III het gekonsentreer op die tipering van die naoes-kenmerke, onder meer die voedings-, medisinale en antioksidant-kenmerke van vrugtedele. Kenmerke van agt kommersiële kultivars is deur middel van groepsontleding bestudeer, waarvolgens die kultivars op grond van belangrike kenmerke (grootte, tekstuur, kleur, oplosbare vaste stowwe, suurgehalte, sappigheid en fenol) in twee groepe (groep 1 = ‘Ruby’, ‘Arakta’ en ‘Ganesh’; groep 2 = ‘Bhagwa’, ‘Acco’ en ‘Herskawitz’) en twee niegegroepeerde kultivars (‘Molla de Elche’ en ‘Wonderful’) ingedeel is. Ten einde die toegevoegde waarde van granaatskille vir farmaseutiese en kosmetiese doeleindes te bevorder, is skilekstrakte ook bestudeer. Die resultate toon dat die vrugteskille van die bestudeerde kultivars oor sterk antibakteriese, antioksidant- en antitirosinase- eienskappe beskik. Daarom kan die skil van die granaatkultivars as moontlike bron van natuurlike antimikrobiese en antioksidant-agense sowel as ’n moontlike tirosinase-inhibitor ontgin word. Die navorsing in deel IV het ondersoek ingestel na die uitwerking van oesrypheid en bergingsomstandighede op die naoes-gehalte en -voedingswaarde van die kultivars ‘Bhagwa’ en ‘Ruby’. Vrugte wat op kommersiële rypheid geoes is, is vir 16 weke by 5±0.3 °C, 7±0.5 °C en 10±0.4 °C met 92±3% RH, sowel as by kamertemperatuur (20±2.2 °C, 65±5.5% RH) geberg. Die bergingsomstandighede het die fisiologiese reaksies en gehalte van die vrugte beïnvloed: Maksimum vlakke van respirasie het teen hoër temperature en met verlengde berging voorgekom. Die kleur en antioksidantvermoë van die vrugte het effens tussen bergingstemperature verskil, en totale oplosbare vaste stowwe en titreerbare suur het mettertyd geleidelik by verskillende temperature afgeneem. Gedagtig daaraan dat die vrugte wat teen 5 °C en 92% RH geberg is beduidend minder gewigsverlies, ’n lae voorkoms van fisiologiese afwykings en die beste resultate in blywende geurkenmerke (TSS en TA, TSS:TA-verhouding) getoon het, kan die bestudeerde kultivars vir 8 tot 12 weke teen 5 °C en >92% RH geberg word (navorsingstuk 8). In navorsingstuk 9 (deel IV) is daar ondersoek ingestel na die verhouding tussen instrument- en sintuiglike metings van granate in verskillende stadia van oesrypheid gedurende berging en raklewe. Geen verskil in sintuiglike kenmerke kon bespeur word by ryp ‘Bhagwa’- vrugte wat op verskillende tye geoes is nie. Tog was TSS (R2 = 0.677) en sapinhoud (R2 = 0.512) die twee bepalendste gehaltekenmerke wat betref oesrypheidstatus gedurende raklewe. By ‘Ruby’ kon ’n kombinasie van instrument- en sintuiglike kenmerke egter wél tussen stadia van oesrypheid onderskei, met die TSS:TA-verhouding die bepalendste (R2 = 0.654) in die onderskeid tussen verskillende vrugteoeste, gevolg deur ’n soet smaak (R2 = 0.474) en skakeringshoek (R2 = 0.431). Die resultate toon dat die beste nabergingsgehalte vir ‘Bhagwa’ verkry word by ’n optimale oesrypheid van 167–175 DAFB (H2 en H3), wanneer vrugte die maksimum TSS-vlak (>16°Brix; H3) en sapinhoud (>65 mL/100 g aril; H2) bereik het. Vir ‘Ruby’ dui hierdie studie op ’n optimale oesdatum van 143 DAFB (H2) met ’n TSS:TA-verhouding van >55, wat verband gehou het met ’n beduidend hoër telling vir soet smaak by H2 eerder as by H1 en H3 ná raklewe. Die resultate van hierdie tesis bied ’n beter begrip van, en insig in, die vrugtekenmerke van granaatkultivars wat in Suid-Afrika verbou word. Oor die algemeen bied die studie wetenskaplike inligting om moontlik die toegevoegde waarde van granate as ’n goeie bron van minerale elemente sowel as farmaseutiese, kosmetiese en antioksidant-verbindings te bevorder. Dit bied ook kennis oor die ontwikkeling van wetenskapgegronde instrumente vir die vasstelling van optimale vrugrypheid en naoes-hanteringsprotokolle om gedurende die naoes-hantering en -bemarking van granate vruggehalte te behou en verliese te verminder.

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