Comprehensive understanding of bruise damage caused by apple-to-apple impacts is beneficial to design a low-impact fruit capturing mechanism for mass (shake-and-catch) harvesting, as well as to design other fruit handling devices. This study quantified the bruising severity in ‘Jazz’ apples induced by different levels of impact upon various fruit surface locations. Impact experiments were carried out to analyze bruising patterns in three zones in a fruit surface, i.e., middle/cheek-to-top/stem, middle-to-middle and middle-to-bottom/calyx. Moving fruit and stationary fruit were impacted using a pendulum-type test device, and an equivalent drop height of fruit was calculated to provide a more practical measure for designing a catching surface. In each impact zone, seven different levels of impacts were applied respectively at seven different locations on the fruit surface. Those locations were evenly distributed along the circumferential direction in each of the three zones, and moving fruit was replaced after each impact test. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standard was then used to estimate percentages of fruit in the Extra Fancy Class 1 (no bruising), Extra Fancy (a bruising area diameter ≤ 12.7 mm) and Fresh Market (a bruising area diameter ≤ 19 mm) grades. Results showed that fruit bruising severity increased in a non-linear manner with increasing drop height. It was also found that there existed significant differences in fruit bruising severity between stationary and moving fruit under different fruit-to-fruit impact zones. The bottom zone showed the least bruising sensitivity, followed by the middle zone which was statistically similar to the same in the top zone. The results suggested that the free drop height need to be <3 cm to keep from fruit bruising caused by apple-to-apple impact at a negligible level for ‘Jazz’ apples.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science