Have you ever been disappointed by a cantaloupe from the grocery store? Too ripe? Not ripe enough? Luckily for you, researchers from the University of California, Davis might have found a way to make imperfectly ripe fruit a thing of the past.

The method will be published on March 30 in the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE).

"We are involved in a project geared towards developing rapid methods to evaluate ripeness and flavour of fruits," said paper-author Dr. Florence Negre-Zkharov. "We evaluated an electronic nose to see if it can differentiate maturity of fruit, specifically melons. The goal is to develop a tool that can be used post-harvest to better evaluate produce, and develop better breeds."

When fruit ripens, it develops a characteristic volatile blend, indicating its maturity. Traditionally, the gold-standard of evaluating these volatiles has been gas chromatography, but it takes up to an hour to analyze a single sample, which makes it impractical to use outside the lab. Dr. Negre-Zakharov and her team wanted to determine if the much cruder -- but much faster -- electronic nose was able to determine if the melon they used in the experiment were ripe. It was.

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