Posted on 14 March 2009 by

Tomato Analyzing Goes High Tech

Is the Heirloom Tomato You Bought Organic? - TomatoCasual.comBy Vanessa Richins

Sorting tomatoes for sale at your local grocery store is a complex process.

Several different factors are judged to reach the tomato’s grade.

The grade determines whether the tomato will be sold fresh, which overall nets the most money for the grower, or if it will be processed into canned tomatoes, juices and more.

One of the factors determining which grade that a tomato is sold under is its color. Sometimes when a tomato is ripening, it will develop a problem called yellow shoulder disorder. This wil cause blotches on the tomato and is located under the skin.

Tomatoes with yellow shoulder disorder will receive an inferior grade, meaning that they will be used in processed foods and the grower will get less money. It also reduces the amount of nutrients like lycopene that the person eating it will receive.

These days, the growers go high tech and use the Tomato Analyzer software to screen their tomatoes. Scientists at Ohio State University and the College of Wooster have created a new tool to judge the color of tomatoes and reduce yellow shoulder disorder. They have named it, not surprisingly, Color Test.

Nicknamed TACT, the new tool allowed the researchers to calibrate scanning devices to be able to assess color quality.

“Traditional tools used to measure color of vegetables and fruits require extensive environmental control, especially for the quality and quantity of light, shadow, and reflection. In contrast, the flatbed scanners used in this study required only a cardboard box as a cover to minimize the effect of shadow.”

With this new tool, it will be much easier to ensure that you are getting high quality tomatoes at the grocery store when you run out of homegrown tomatoes.

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