Article Number: DRJAFS76837667
ISSN: 2354-4147

Vol. 9, Pp. 174-180, 2021

Copyright © 2021

Author(s) retain the copyright of this article

Original Research Article

Evaluation of the mechanical properties of tomato (Cv. Roma) fruits as related to the design of harvesting and packaging autonomous system

Ekruyota, O. G.

Akpenyi-Aboh, O. N.

*3Uguru, H.


The world is currently facing a high food price index as a result of global food security deterioration. The automation of agricultural operations will increase food production by conserving power and energy. The purpose of this study was to evaluate some mechanical properties of tomato fruits that are required for the development and optimization of a tomato fruit harvesting robot.  The Roma tomato seeds were planted using three different farming methods: organic, inorganic, and combined. Compost manure was used as a soil amendment in the organic method; NPK 15:15:15 fertilizer was used as a soil amendment in the organic method; and a 5:5 mixture of compost manure and NPK 15:15:15 fertilizer was used as a soil amendment in the organic method.  Fruits from these farming methods were harvested at two maturity stages (pink and red ripe) and their compression parameters were tested in accordance with ASABE recommended procedures. The compression test results showed that farming method and maturity stage had a significant (p 0.05) effect on the failure force, failure energy, and compressibility of tomato fruits. Regardless of farming method, the fruits harvested at the pink maturity stage had higher failure force and failure energy than the fruits harvested at the red maturity stage.  Similarly, regardless of maturity stage, fruits produced with the combined treatment developed the highest compressive parameters, while control fruits developed the lowest compressive parameters. The failure parameters of the tomato fruits revealed the maximum pressure that a robotic system should apply to a tomato fruit in order to minimize mechanical damage to the fruit. The study’s findings can be used by robotic engineers and software developers to create and optimize a robotic system for tomato fruit production.

Keywords: Food security, robotic system, tomato fruit, maturity stage, mechanical properties

 Received: April 9, 2021  Accepted: May 21, 2021  Published: May 30, 2021

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