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2 June 2011 Evaluating carotenoid changes in tomatoes during postharvest ripening using Raman chemical imaging
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Lycopene is a major carotenoid in tomatoes and its content varies considerably during postharvest ripening. Hence evaluating lycopene changes can be used to monitor the ripening of tomatoes. Raman chemical imaging technique is promising for mapping constituents of interest in complex food matrices. In this study, a benchtop point-scanning Raman chemical imaging system was developed to evaluate lycopene content in tomatoes at different maturity stages. The system consists of a 785 nm laser, a fiber optic probe, a dispersive imaging spectrometer, a spectroscopic CCD camera, and a two-axis positioning table. Tomato samples at different ripeness stages (i.e., green, breaker, turning, pink, light red, and red) were selected and cut before imaging. Hyperspectral Raman images were acquired from cross sections of the fruits in the wavenumber range of 200 to 2500 cm-1 with a spatial resolution of 1 mm. The Raman spectrum of pure lycopene was measured as reference for spectral matching. A polynomial curve-fitting method was used to correct for the underlying fluorescence background in the Raman spectra of the tomatoes. A hyperspectral image classification method was developed based on spectral information divergence to identify lycopene in the tomatoes. Raman chemical images were created to visualize quantity and spatial distribution of the lycopene at different ripeness stages. The lycopene patterns revealed the mechanism of lycopene generation during the postharvest development of the tomatoes. The method and findings of this study form a basis for the future development of a Raman-based nondestructive approach for monitoring internal maturity of the tomatoes.
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Jianwei Qin, Kuanglin Chao, and Moon S. Kim "Evaluating carotenoid changes in tomatoes during postharvest ripening using Raman chemical imaging", Proc. SPIE 8027, Sensing for Agriculture and Food Quality and Safety III, 802703 (2 June 2011);

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