Fresh vegetables such as tomato should have low microbial population for safe consumption and long storage life. The aerobic bacterial count (ABC) and coliform bacterial count (CBC), yeast, and mold population are the most widely used microbial indicators in fresh vegetables which should be lower than 4 log CFU g-1 for safe consumption. The stages of the supply chain, postharvest handling methods, and crop varieties had significant effects on microbial population. ABC, CBC, yeast, and mold population were significantly highest (P<0.05) at retail market (5.59, 4.38, 2.60, and 3.14 log CFU g-1, resp.), followed by wholesale market (4.72, 4.71, 2.43, and 2.44 log CFU g-1, resp.), and were least at farm gate (3.89, 3.63, 2.38, and 2.03 log CFU g-1, resp.). Improved postharvest practices (washing in clean water and grading and packaging in clean plastic crate) helped to reduce ABC, CBC, and mold population by 2.51, 32.70, and 29.86 percentage as compared to the conventional method (no washing and no grading and packaging in mud plastered bamboo baskets). Among varieties, Pusa ruby had the lowest microbial load of 2.58, 4.53, 0.96, and 1.77 log CFU g-1 for ABC, CBC, yeast, and mold count, respectively. Significantly negative correlation (P<0.05) was observed between fruit pH & ABC and pH & mold count. Although the microbial quality of fresh tomato is safe in the local market of western Terai of Nepal both in conventional and in improved practices however still it is essential to follow improved postharvest handling practices in production and marketing of newly introduced tomato cultivars (high-pH cultivars) for ensuring the safe availability of fresh tomato in the market.
This article is the result of funding from the World Vegetable Center. The World Vegetable Center is partly funded by the UK Department for International Development
Khadka, R.B.; Marasini, M.; Rawal, R.; Gautam, D.M.; Acedo, A.L., Jr. 2017. Effects of variety and postharvest handling practices on microbial population at different stages of the value chain of Fresh Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) in western Terai of Nepal. BIOMED Research International. 2017:7148076.
Effects of variety and postharvest handling practices on microbial population at different stages of the value chain of Fresh Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) in western Terai of Nepal