Textural properties and fruit characteristics of dessert bananas during ripening
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Dessert bananas suffer substantial postharvest losses due to mechanical forces during transport and distribution. This work aimed at determining the textural properties and mechanical strength of three dessert banana varieties at different stages of ripeness. Bunches of three desert bananas varieties (fhia, bogoya and ndiizi) were harvested at mature green stage and kept at room temperature. The changes in their postharvest texture in compression (with or without rind) and abrasion modes together with the physico-chemical properties including pH, acidity, TSS and ripeness scores were then determined every after 48hours. At the sametime, the relative humidity and room temperature were also recorded, from the day of reception of materials until the bananas exceeded stage 7 of ripening. For all the varieties, textural properties and fruit characteristics changed with the stage of ripening. TSS increased at different rates as ripening progressed, ndiizi had the highest initial TSS, followed by bogoya and fhia that had the similar amounts. Additionally, the TSS for ndiizi increased immediately, that of fhia after 4 days while that of bogoya increased after 6 days. Ndiizi had the highest final TSS, followed by bogoya and then fhia in that order. In all the varieties, the ripening score increased only after day 6 until a constant maximum score after day 14. The pH generally reduced to a minimum and then became constant as in ndiizi or further increased to a constant value as in bogoya and fhia. The acidity of the dessert bananas generally increased to a maximum value and thereafter decreased; fhia reached the highest acidity at day 6, followed by ndiizi at day 8 and lastly bogoya at day 10, respectively as ripening progressed. The textural hardness and toughness for all varieties decreased as ripening progressed; within a variety, the harness and toughness was higher with rind (peel) than without rind.