AUTHOR : OFOR, MARIAN ONOMERHIEVURHOYEN (PhD)
DEPARTMENT : CROP SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
AFFILIATION: FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY OWERRI
The study was carried out on tomato wash water obtained from major markets across five
states in Southeastern Nigeria namely Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo. Analysis of
variance showed a higher prevalence of Bacteria in the samples from the different States
than Fungi; and the test was significantly different at 5% level of probability. Bacteria like
Bacillus sp., Lactobacillus sp., Staphylococcus aureus; and fungi like Penicillum spp,
Aspergillus niger, A. oryzae, Rhizopus stolonifer and Nematospora coryli were observed in
the tomato wash water from the different states, including the potable water used as controls.
Test for the presence of phytochemicals in plant extracts from Ocimum gratissimum, Xylopia
aethiopica and Piper guineense showed that while Saponins were absent in all three plant
extracts, Alkaloids, Flavonoids, Glycosides and Tannins were present. Steroids were
however absent in O.gratissimum. The oils from Arachis hypogea L. (Groundnut),
Cucumeropsis mannii Naud. (Egusi Melon) and Cocos nucifera (Coconut) showed the
presence of all phytochemicals except oils from Coconut which lacked Glycosides and
Saponins. After two weeks storage of tomato fruits in wooden boxes, the least decrease in
percentage moisture content was exhibited by fruits treated with Melon oil (0.29%) and X.
aethiopica extracts (0.24%) in polythene-lined boxes. The least decrease in ascorbic acid
content was exhibited by tomato fruits treated with Groundnut oils (7.48 mg/100ml) and O.
gratissimum (6.27mg/100ml) in polythene-lined boxes. The least decrease in ash content
was exhibited by fruits stored with Coconut oil (4.31%) and O. gratissimum (5.22%) in
polythene-lined boxes. The least decrease in fibre content was exhibited by fruits treated with
Groundnut oil (5.61%) and O.gratissimum (4.44%) in polyethene-lined boxes. The least
decrease in TSS content was exhibited by tomato fruits treated with Coconut oils (6.82 g/l)
and O. gratissimum (4.85 g/l) in polythene–lined boxes. After two weeks storage of tomato
fruits in raffia-cane baskets, the highest and least percentage inhibition was exhibited by
tomato fruits treated with Groundnut oils (95.4 %) and Melon oils (58.7%); inoculated with R.
stolonifer and N.coryli and stored in grass and sac-lined baskets respectively. The proximate
analysis of the tomato fruits stored in raffia-cane baskets followed the same pattern with
those stored in wooden boxes. However, the fruits stored in grass-lined baskets performed
better than those stored in baskets with jute-sac linings. The use of oils and extracts from
Groundnut and O. gratissimum respectively as wax and antimicrobial agents during
postharvest handling of tomatoes is suggested. The adoption of wooden, or better still,
plastic boxes with grass lining sterilized with dry heat, is suggested as an alternative to the
conventional grass-lined raffia-cane baskets, for the packaging of tomatoes reaching markets
in southeastern Nigeria.
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