Evaluation of six tomato (lycopersicon esculentum mill) cultivars for their fresh market and processing qualities

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Three experiments were conducted on the experimental plots of the Department of Horticulture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology between December 1998 and May 2000, during the 1998/99 dry season, 1099 wet season and the 1999/2000 dry season to study the fresh market and processing qualities of six tomato varieties. The varieties were NR1, NR2, NR5, NR6, NR44 and NR46. Data were collected on the vegetative and reproductive growth parameters, fruit qualities, yield and fruit shelf-life. The vegetative growth characteristics studied included, plant height, number of branches per plant and the growth habits of the plants. Days to flowering, number of flowers and fruits on first truss, number of fruits per plant and the number of days to first harvest were also studied. Physical fruit characteristics such as fruit size, shape colour and fruit firmness were studied. The fruits were analysed in the laboratory for pH, total soluble solids, titratable acidity and ascorbic acid contents. Yield and shelf-life performances of the varieties were also studied. The results revealed that NR1 and NR6 were determinate varieties; while the remaining varieties were semi-determinate. Fruit yield for the varieties varied, with an increase from a low of 198.2 kg/ha for NR6 during the 1998/99 dry season trial to a highest of 21105.1 kg/ha by NR44 in the 1999/2000 dry season trial. NR6 and NR44 stored longest (26.0 days) during the 1999/2000 trial under room condition. Total soluble solids, titratable acidity, flesh, seed and skin contents of the varieties indicated that the varieties have desirable qualities for processing only during the dry season. Fruit size, average fruit weight, fruit colour, shelf life and percentage marketable fruit values also showed that the varieties were equally suitable for the fresh market use.
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science (Postharvest Physiology) Degree, 2001