Fluorescence and reflectance (or interactance) are promising techniques for measuring fruit quality and condition. Our previous research showed that a hyperspectral imaging technique integrating fluorescence and reflectance could improve predictions of selected quality parameters compared to single sensing techniques. The objective of this research was to use a low cost spectrometer for rapid acquisition of fluorescence and interactance spectra from apples and develop an algorithm integrating the two types of data for predicting skin and flesh color, fruit firmness, starch index, soluble solids content, and titratable acid. Experiments were performed to measure UV light induced transient fluorescence and interactance spectra from 'Golden Delicious' apples that were harvested over a period of four weeks during the 2005 harvest season. Standard destructive tests were performed to measure maturity parameters from the apples. Principal component (PC) analysis was applied to the interactance and fluorescence data. A back-propagation feedforward neural network with the inputs of PC data was used to predict individual maturity parameters. Interactance mode was consistently better than fluorescence mode in predicting the maturity parameters. Integrating interactance and fluorescence improved predictions of all parameters except flesh chroma; values of the correlation coefficient for firmness, soluble solids content, starch index, and skin and flesh hue were 0.77, 0.77, 0.89, 0.99, and 0.96 respectively, with the corresponding standard errors of 6.93 N, 0.90%, 0.97 g/L, 0.013 rad, and 0.013 rad. These results represented 4.1% to 23.5% improvements in terms of standard error, in comparison with the better results from the two single sensing methods. Integrating interactance and fluorescence can better assess apple maturity and quality.
Chlorophyll fluorescence has been researched for assessing fruit post-harvest quality and condition. The objective of this preliminary research was to investigate the potential of fluorescence spectroscopy for measuring apple fruit quality. Ultraviolet (UV) and blue light was used as an excitation source for inducing fluorescence in apples. Fluorescence spectra were measured from 'Golden Delicious' (GD) and 'Red Delicious' (RD) apples by using a visible/near-infrared spectrometer after one, three, and five minutes of continuous UV/blue light illumination. Standard destructive tests were performed to measure fruit firmness, skin and flesh color, soluble solids and acid content from the apples. Calibration models for each of the three illumination time periods were developed to predict fruit quality indexes. The results showed that fluorescence emission decreased steadily during the first three minutes of UV/blue light illumination and was stable within five minutes. The differences were minimal in the model prediction results based on fluorescence data at one, three or five minutes of illumination. Overall, better predictions were obtained for apple skin chroma and hue and flesh hue with values for the correlation coefficient of validation between 0.80 and 0.90 for both GD and RD. Relatively poor predictions were obtained for fruit firmness, soluble solids content, titrational acid, and flesh chroma. This research demonstrated that fluorescence spectroscopy is potentially useful for assessing selected quality attributes of apple fruit and further research is needed to improve fluorescence measurements so that better predictions of fruit quality can be achieved.