Present Condition of Nondestructive Quality Evaluation of Fruits and Vegetables in Japan
Studies on nondestructive techniques for quality evaluation of fruits and vegetables were initiated in the early 1970s in Japan. The studies aimed mainly at the development of methods for the measurement of the surface color of the products using visible light. Thereafter, many studies using delayed light emission (DLE), infrared (IR), fluorescence, sound response, and impact force response have been carried out of develop methods for the detection of maturity, firmness, surface defects, etc. Since the late 1980s, near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy has been studied for determining the chemical composition of various kinds of products such as peaches, Japanese pears, apples, tomatoes, strawberries, satsuma oranges, etc. Automated machines using optoelectronic technology have been developed to sort produce based on the surface appearance such as peel color, presence of defects or bruises and size. Emphasis is currently placed on studies to develop new machines for sorting produce in relation to taste.