Journal article Open Access

Biospeckle Supported Fruit Bruise Detection

Adilson M. Enes; Juliana A. Fracarolli; Inácio M. Dal Fabbro; Silvestre Rodrigues

This research work proposed a study of fruit bruise detection by means of a biospeckle method, selecting the papaya fruit (Carica papaya) as testing body. Papaya is recognized as a fruit of outstanding nutritional qualities, showing high vitamin A content, calcium, carbohydrates, exhibiting high popularity all over the world, considering consumption and acceptability. The commercialization of papaya faces special problems which are associated to bruise generation during harvesting, packing and transportation. Papaya is classified as climacteric fruit, permitting to be harvested before the maturation is completed. However, by one side bruise generation is partially controlled once the fruit flesh exhibits high mechanical firmness. By the other side, mechanical loads can set a future bruise at that maturation stage, when it can not be detected yet by conventional methods. Mechanical damages of fruit skin leave an entrance door to microorganisms and pathogens, which will cause severe losses of quality attributes. Traditional techniques of fruit quality inspection include total soluble solids determination, mechanical firmness tests, visual inspections, which would hardly meet required conditions for a fully automated process. However, the pertinent literature reveals a new method named biospeckle which is based on the laser reflectance and interference phenomenon. The laser biospeckle or dynamic speckle is quantified by means of the Moment of Inertia, named after its mechanical counterpart due to similarity between the defining formulae. Biospeckle techniques are able to quantify biological activities of living tissues, which has been applied to seed viability analysis, vegetable senescence and similar topics. Since the biospeckle techniques can monitor tissue physiology, it could also detect changes in the fruit caused by mechanical damages. The proposed technique holds non invasive character, being able to generate numerical results consistent with an adequate automation. The experimental tests associated to this research work included the selection of papaya fruit at different maturation stages which were submitted to artificial mechanical bruising tests. Damages were visually compared with the frequency maps yielded by the biospeckle technique. Results were considered in close agreement.

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