Postharvest Biology and Technology 42 (2006) 198–207
Laser Doppler vibrometer analysis of changes in elastic properties of ripening ‘La France’ pears after postharvest storage
Shoji Terasaki ^{a}^{,}^{∗} , Naoki Sakurai ^{b} , Jacek Zebrowski ^{c}^{,}^{g} , Hideki Murayama ^{d} , Ryoichi Yamamoto ^{e} , Donald J. Nevins ^{f}
^{a} Intellectual Property Center, Panasonic Shikoku Electronics Co. Ltd., 247 Fukutake, Saijo 7638510, Ehime, Japan ^{b} Faculty of Integrated Arts & Sciences, Hiroshima University, Kagamiyama, HigashiHiroshima 7398521, Japan ^{c} Biotechnology Department, Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute, Radzikow, 00950 Warszawa, Poland ^{d} Faculty of Agriculture, Yamagata University, Tsuruoka 9978555, Japan ^{e} Laboratory of Biology and Chemistry, Tezukayama University, GakuenMinami, Nara 6310034, Japan
^{f} Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
^{g} Plant Physiology Department, University of Rzeszow, 33959 Rzeszow, Poland
Received 4 November 2005; accepted 16 June 2006
Abstract
A laser Doppler vibrometer (LDV) technique was used to monitor ripening behaviour and a reciprocal model was developed to simulate the ripening process of pear fruit stored for various periods at low temperature. Over a period of separate growing seasons ‘La France’ pears
were harvested at the stage considered most favorable for the development of high quality fruit and stored in air at 1 ^{◦} C for intervals from
2 weeks to 6 months. After the low temperature storage treatment the pears were maintained at 20 ^{◦} C and continuously monitored for ﬂesh
elasticity and texture evaluated by sensory evaluation. The laser Doppler vibrometer (LDV) was employed to detect responses to imposed
vibration of intact pears and an FFTanalysis was used to estimate the second resonant peak used for the calculation of the elasticity index E. Pears stored for relatively short intervals (from 2 weeks to 2 months) developed textural qualities consistent with consumer’s expectations and as these fruit ripened there was a steady decline in the Evalue. The decline in the elasticity index E complied with both the reciprocal and conventional exponential models; however, the reciprocal model more consistently reﬂected the experimental data. Fruit stored for over
4 months failed to ripen or developed an undesirable skin color. Typically these fruit developed a texture that made them unacceptable for
consumption and as a result such pears were of no commercial value. LDV analysis showed that these fruit developed an irregular pattern in the elasticity index over the course of the poststorage ripening interval. A normalized curve was proposed to compare the E declination for pears with different initial elasticity indices when subjected to various storage periods. Since changes in the fruit ﬂesh elasticity index reﬂects
characteristics of cell wall structure and cell turgor, the use of LDV measurements of intact fruit may be a useful approach for exploring, nondestructively, the progression of metabolic changes in fruit cell walls associated with ripening. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Pear; Pyrus communis; Elasticity index; Laser Doppler vibrometer; Exponential and reciprocal models; Ripening; Low temperature storage
1. Introduction
Pears are usually harvested at the growth stage determined as the optimal time for harvest (OTH) for the development of a “buttery” or “melting” texture sensation associated with desirable levels of fruit juiciness. After harvest the fruit are usually stored at low temperature for some period and then
^{∗} Corresponding author. Tel.: +81 897 56 1997; fax: +81 897 53 5598. Email address: terasaki.shoji@jp.panasonic.com (S. Terasaki).
09255214/$ – see front matter © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.postharvbio.2006.06.007
allowed to mature at room temperature to achieve the required quality. When pears are not harvested at OTH or harvested at the OTH but stored for extended periods, they fail to develop the desirable tissue texture (Chen and Borgic, 1985; Wang et al., 1985; Murayama et al., 1998). Monitoring the degree of pear ripeness is thus important for the processing industry and necessary for predicting consumer acceptance of the product. In current practice the evaluation of pear maturity is based mostly on physical probes which directly evaluate the com pliance of tissue in response to applied force (e.g., Magness
S. Terasaki et al. / Postharvest Biology and Technology 42 (2006) 198–207
199
Taylor penetrometer and Efﬁgi penetrometer) (Chen and Borgic, 1985; Wang et al., 1985; Puig et al., 1996; Elgar et al., 1997; Murayama et al., 1998). There are, however, two main disadvantages in using this approach: (i) sampled pears are damaged during evaluation and (ii) only a small sample of the fruit are tested. In earlier attempts to detect pear ripeness non destructively, Wang and Worthington (1979) measured changes in optical density ( OD) of intact ‘Bartlett’ pears at wavelengths between 690 and 740 nm with a singlebeam multiwavelength spectrophotometer. They reported a strong correlation between fruit ﬁrmness and OD, and proposed OD as an index for determining the degree of ripeness. Although consistent statistically with the degree of ripeness, the colorimetric parameter reﬂects only optical properties of the skin and this estimate of fruit texture is not related directly to the mechanical properties of the ﬂesh. Since Wang and Worthington’s (1979) ﬁrst attempt, numerous reports have been published proposing remote evaluation of internal tissue texture of fruit. A particularly attractive approach for nondestructive inspection of the elas tic ﬂesh properties related to texture is based on the analysis of natural vibrations of an intact fruit. A number of studies have been reported on the application of parameters derived from vibrations in the acoustic range for fruit quality evalua tion, mostly for measuring ﬂesh ﬁrmness in fruit of spherical shape such as apples, tomatoes, and kiwifruit (Abbott et al., 1968; Finney, 1970; Stephenson et al., 1973; Shmulevich et al., 1996, 2003; Abbott and Massie, 1998; De Ketelaere and De Baerdemaeker, 2001). More recently, acoustic vibration analysis was extended to evaluate ﬁrmness in nonspherical fruit such as pear (De Belie et al., 2000). Other techniques enabling nondestructive evaluation of elastic properties of plant tissues and plant product texture are based on NIR (near infrared radiation), laser displacement sensors or ultrasound (i.e., Zebrowski, 1992; Flitsanov et al., 2000; Park et al., 2003; Mizrach, 2004). The laser Doppler vibrometer (LDV) method is an acoustic vibration technique originally proposed for fruit testing by Muramatsu et al. (1997). The advantage of the method is that the LDV detector does not require direct contact with the fruit surface, hence the vibration signals of an intact fruit may be measured precisely in real time. The natural frequency of the appropriate mode of vibrations is derived from response signals using fast Fourier transformation (FFT) and the values may be used to calculate the fruit ﬁrmness, f ^{2} m ^{(}^{2}^{/}^{3}^{)} , where f is the second resonant frequency and m is fruit mass (Cooke, 1972). The analysis of the vibration mode in studies on apple fruit using electronic speckle pattern interferometry indicated that “f ^{2} m ^{(}^{2}^{/}^{3}^{)} ” is theoretically justiﬁed as the measure of the fruit elasticity index (Terasaki et al., 2001b). ‘La France’ pear has gained popularity with the con sumer, but the delivery of high quality fruit to the market has been a challenge because assessment of the stage of ripeness nondestructively is unreliable. In addition, the duration and conditions of storage have a great impact on the fruit ripening
process. It is well established that ‘La France’ pear ﬁrmness and ripeness are closely correlated (Murayama et al., 2002). Therefore, measurements of fruit ﬁrmness (fruit elasticity index) nondestructively may allow indirect monitoring of the ripening process. The laser Doppler vibrometer method is a very powerful tool with great potential in such applica tions. The objectives of this research were (i) to evaluate feasi bility of LDV for nondestructive determination of changes in the elastic properties related to ripening in of ‘La France’ pears stored at low temperature for different intervals and (ii) to develop a mathematical model enabling the prediction of changes in elasticity index during postharvest ripening.
2. Materials and methods
2.1. Plant material
Pear fruit (Pyrus communis L. cv. La France), were pro duced at a commercial orchard near Yamagata, Japan, in the 1998–2000, and 2002 seasons. Pears were picked at the stage of development judged by experienced growers to be the opti mum time for harvest (OTH), 165 days after ﬂowering, and were sorted into groups for further storage. Immediately after harvesting the fruit were kept at 1 ^{◦} C for periods of different duration. The designation of treatments as 0.5MO, 1MO, 2MO, 3MO, 4MO, 5MO, and 6MO corresponded to stor age at 1 ^{◦} C for 2 weeks, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 months, respectively. Fruit not subjected to storage were referred to as the 0MO group. Table 1 shows the number of fruit tested and their average initial mass for each treatment.
2.2. Measurement of fruit vibration response by means
of LDV
The apparatus for pear fruit exposure to mechanical vibra tions and detection of the vibration response is given in Fig. 1. Details of the system, apart from the vibration generator, are described elsewhere (Terasaki et al., 2001a). An unrestrained pear was placed on the stage, which was coupled to the vibra tion generator (LB512A, EMIC CORP., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan). For the measurements, the main axis of the fruit was oriented vertically with peduncle directed sidewise. The excitation signal was the sine wave signal produced by a multi purpose FFT analyzer (CF5210, ONO SOKKI Co. Ltd., Yokohama, Japan). The amplitude of the sine signal was adjusted at every frequency to prevent fruit from falling off the vibration stage. The output amplitude of the FFT analyzer was 0.05 Vrms at 10–50 Hz, 0.20 Vrms at 50–100 Hz, 0.5 Vrms at 100–200 Hz, and 1.0 Vrms at 200–3000 Hz, respectively. The LDV laser beam (LV1300, ONO SOKKI Co. Ltd.) was reﬂected from the target attached to the pear surface at the distal tip and detected by the LDV. The response signal was transferred to the input of a multi purpose FFT analyzer (CF5210, ONO SOKKI Co. Ltd.) and was calibrated with
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Table 1 The storage duration for ‘La France’ pears in 1998–2002
Storage period 
1998 
1999 
2000 
2002 

(months) 
Number of 
Fruit mass (g) 
Number of 
Fruit mass (g) 
Number of 
Fruit mass (g) 
Number of 
Fruit mass (g) 
samples 
samples 
samples 
samples 

0 
– 
– 
50 
279 ± 5.4 259 ± 4.2 268 ± 5.6 245 ± 5.3 – 235 ± 7.8 – – 
– 
– – – 321 ± 9.5 – – – – 
– 
– – 279.1 ± 4.6 – 287.6 ± 6.4 – 251.6 ± 6.7 – 
0.5 
16 
333.9 ± 2.9 
36 
– 
– 

1 
– 
– 
38 
– 
33 

2 
– 
– 
34 
5 
– 

3 
– 
– 
– 
– 
29 

4 
– 
– 
39 
– 
– 

5 
– 
– 
– 
– 
12 

6 
16 
314.5 ± 7.1 
– 
– 
– 
The number of tested fruit and the average initial fruit mass are given for each treatment for the years of harvest.
reference to the imposed vibration of the stage as detected by an accelerometer. The fruit vibration spectrum was analyzed with FFT within the range of 16–3200 Hz at a resolution of 16 Hz. The second resonant frequency, f, was identiﬁed from the spectrum and used for calculation of the fruit elasticity index according to the formula E = f ^{2} m ^{(}^{2}^{/}^{3}^{)} , where m was a fruit mass (Terasaki et al., 2001b).
2.3. Fruit sampling and sensory evaluation
After the designated storage period, pears of each group were transferred to a temperature controlled room (20 ^{◦} C) to ripen. The only exception was the 0.5 MO treatment
Fig. 1. Apparatus used for the determination of the altered vibrant frequen cies of pear fruit by means of laser Doppler vibrometer. An intact fruit was placed unrestrained on a stage and excited by imposed vibrations by gen erator connected to the table. The fruit vibration response was measured without direct contact at the top of the fruit with a laser beam. The vibration signal detected by the laser vibrometer was compared to a reference signal at the stage measured with the accelerometer.
in 1998 which was held at room temperature (about 22 ^{◦} C but noncontrolled). Individual fruit were monitored non destructively for ripening according to a prescribed schedule using the LDV method. The pears (except the group har vested in 2000) were also subjected to evaluation by a sensory panel for subjective determination of ripeness. Sensory eval uation was determined by two or three evaluators organized by Prof. Murayama of Yamagata University. The times when fruit quality was highest were judged from the ﬁrmness and the texture of fruit, and the optimum ripeness of pear fruit was determined by the change into a buttery texture. Ripen ing was monitored over a period of 16 days for the group 0.5MO in 1998 with one fruit sampled for sensory evalua tion each day. Ripening for storage groups 0MO, 0.5MO, 1MO, 2MO and 4MO in 1999 was evaluated for 33, 24, 21, 18 and 16 days, respectively, and one or two fruit of each group were sampled for sensory evaluation each day. Ripen ing for the groups 1MO, 3MO and 5MO in 2002 season were evaluated for 20, 16 and 16 days respectively, and three fruit of each group were sampled for sensory evaluation every 2 days.
3. Results
3.1. Fruit vibration spectrum in the frequency domain
Fig. 2A shows a typical frequency spectrum for the vibra tion response of a pear as determined by LVD and analyzed by FFT. The arrow in Fig. 2A indicates the second resonant peak, the frequency of which was used for calculation of the elas ticity index E. Each pear was tested using 10 replications as shown in Fig. 1 with LDV. Fig. 2B shows the variance in mea sured vibration spectrum for the same pear over consecutive trials. The data show that the variance in the frequency proﬁle below 1500 Hz was small compared to the higher frequency range. Below 1500 Hz the LDV yielded highly reproducible values for the second resonant frequency, f. The coefﬁcients of variations for E estimated from ﬁve randomly selected pears in were between 0.49 and 0.67%, comparable to those observed for kiwifruit (Terasaki et al., 2001a).
S. Terasaki et al. / Postharvest Biology and Technology 42 (2006) 198–207
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Fig. 2. Fruit response to imposed vibration in frequency domain measured using the LDV method. (A) A typical frequency spectrum of an immature pear characterized by ﬁve resonant peaks within the range of 0 and 2000 Hz. Position of the second resonance frequency is indicated by the arrow. (B) Variance in vibration frequency spectrum for one individual pear fruit in 10 successive excitations.
3.2. Changes in elastic properties of pear fruit as a function of storage period
Changes in the pear elasticity index E as a function of time showed diverse patterns associated with the storage period (Fig. 3). The Evalue declined steadily as a quasiexponential function only for short intervals following storage at low temperature. This timedependent pattern in the decline of the elasticity index was not observed after longterm stor age. The E index values of pears harvested during the 1998 season and allowed to ripen after 2 weeks (0.5MO) storage at 1 ^{◦} C decreased steadily as a quasiexponential function from 23 to 4.5 × 10 ^{6} Hz ^{2} g ^{2}^{/}^{3} during the subsequent 16 days ripening interval (Fig. 3A). The fruit were edible through out all of the ripening stages, and the quality of the texture
was considered satisfactory after day 9. The elasticity index of pears stored for 1 month (1MO) in 2002 decreased uni formly until day 14 (Fig. 3B) from 24 to 5.5 × 10 ^{6} Hz ^{2} g ^{2}^{/}^{3} , and the Evalue of pears harvested in 2000 and stored for 2 months declined from 8.6 to 4.5 × 10 ^{6} Hz ^{2} g ^{2}^{/}^{3} in 12 days (Fig. 3C). The decline proﬁles for the elasticity index of pears grown in 1999 and 2000 were very similar. Pears maintained in cold storage for 3 months showed aberrant elasticity index declination proﬁles compared to what was observed with shortterm storage (Fig. 3D). Specif ically, the typical exponential decline of the index was observed for only the initial period (0–8 days), after which the Evalue increased (until day 12) and decreased again. No changes were observed in the Evalue of pears stored for 4 months (4MO) in 1999 (data not shown). The initial elastic
Fig. 3. Changes in elastic index of ‘La France’ pears subjected to various storage periods at 1 ^{◦} C. (A) 0.5 months in 1998; (B) 1 month in 2002; (C) 2 months in 2000; (D) 3 months in 2002; (E) 5 months in 2002; (F) 6 months in 1998.
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S. Terasaki et al. / Postharvest Biology and Technology 42 (2006) 198–207
Table 2 The elasticity index of pear fruit determined using the LCV method at peak ripeness
Storage period (months) 
1998 
1999 
2002 

E _{R} ^{a} (×10 ^{6} Hz ^{2} g ^{2}^{/}^{3} ) 
Day ^{b} 
E _{R} ^{a} (×10 ^{6} Hz ^{2} g ^{2}^{/}^{3} ) 
Day ^{b} 
E _{R} ^{a} (×10 ^{6} Hz ^{2} g ^{2}^{/}^{3} ) 
Day ^{b} 

0 
– 
– 8 – 11 – – – 
6.8 ± 0.3 8.6 ± 0.4 6.4 ± 0.6 6.5 ± 0.4 – 
21–30 
– – 6.6 ± 0.6 – 6.8 ± 0.3 
– 
0.5 
7.1 ± 0.4 
12–17 
– 

1 
– 
7–11 
7–14 

2 
– 
4–9 
– 

3 
– 
– 
6–10 
^{a} E _{R} is the elasticity index averaged over days when pear reached peak fruit ripeness.
^{b} Day refers to the number of days after storage at which the fruit showed peak ripeness in sensory evaluation.
ity index of pears stored for 5 months (5MO) in 2002 was very low (6.6 × 10 ^{6} Hz ^{2} g ^{2}^{/}^{3} ) compared to fruit of other stor age treatments, and the values were reduced only slightly in the course of monitoring (Fig. 3E). The initial elasticity index of pears stored for 6 months (6MO) (4.8 × 10 ^{6} Hz ^{2} g ^{2}^{/}^{3} ) was only 20% of that of fruit stored for 2 weeks (0.5MO) (Fig. 3F). During ripening of pears after 6 months storage the elasticity index increased gradually for the ﬁrst 6 or 7 days and then declined. After 6 days the elasticity indices of individ ual fruit varied considerably. Sensory panel evaluation tests showed that the fruit was unacceptable for consumers and the fruit were never considered edible at any point throughout the ripening period.
3.3. Relationship between the elasticity index and
ripeness in pear
The elasticity index values measured at dates when the sensory panel judged the pears at the prime stage of ripeness (E _{R} ) are given in Table 2. In general, for 3 of the 4 years, the time to ripeness was accelerated as the storage period was extended. Pears harvested in 1998 and stored for 2 weeks (0.5 MO) developed optimal ripeness on day 8–11 after the time they were transferred to the room temperature. The average elasticity index for fruit sampled on days 8, 9 and 11 was equal to 7.1 × 10 ^{6} Hz ^{2} g ^{2}^{/}^{3} . Pears harvested in 1998 and stored for 6 months (6MO) never achieved acceptable texture and were considered inedible. In the 1999 experiments, storage at low temperature reduced, in general, time to ripeness and the reduction was greater the longer the storage period. Fruit not subjected to a storage treatment (0MO) achieved ripeness as judged by the sensory experts after 21–30 days. The mean elasticity index of the ﬂesh monitored by means of LDV for the period was equal to 6.8 × 10 ^{6} Hz ^{2} g ^{2}^{/}^{3} . Maintenance of the fruit for 2 weeks (0.5MO) at low temperature reduced by almost half the time to ripeness. After 1 and 2 months storage the time to ripeness ranged from days 7 to 11, and from days 4 to 9, respectively. The elasticity index averaged over the period when the fruit were ripe was rather independent of the storage period and the values ranged from 6.4 to 8.6. The exception was for the 0.5MO treatment where we observed a signiﬁ cantly higher value, 8.6.
Pears harvested in the 2002 season and stored for one or 3 months (groups 1MO and 3MO) required a time to ripeness of 6–14 days and showed an elasticity index range from 6.6 to 6.8 × 10 ^{6} Hz ^{2} g ^{2}^{/}^{3} . These values were similar to those of fruit in the 1999 season stored for 1 month (group 1MO). Pears from the 2002 harvest stored for 5 months (data not shown) developed a crumpled pericarp and were not edible.
3.4. Changes in the elasticity index of fruit during cold storage
The initial elasticity index of pears varied considerably when they were removed from storage treatment. It was clear that subjecting fruit to low temperature suppressed the E value as a function of the length of the storage (Fig. 4). The highest initial E values were observed with a treat ment of 0MO in 1999 (30.5 × 10 ^{6} Hz ^{2} m ^{2}^{/}^{3} ), while the lowest were observed for fruit stored for 6MO in 1998 (4.8 × 10 ^{6} Hz ^{2} m ^{2}^{/}^{3} ). The decline in the elasticity index was simulated with a polynomial regression curve (dotted line). There was a dissipation of about 75% of the initial elasticity index in pears stored for more than 4 months.
Fig. 4. Changes in the initial elasticity index after storage for different inter vals of ‘La France’ pears harvested in the 1998–2002 seasons. ( ), ( ) and (♦) denote fruit that developed high quality textures during ripening; ( ),
( ) and ( ) denote fruit that were inedible throughout ripening.
S. Terasaki et al. / Postharvest Biology and Technology 42 (2006) 198–207
203
Fig. 5. Comparison of the conventional (dotted line) and the reciprocal (solid line) models with experimental data ( ) of the elasticity index decay during poststorage ripening.
3.5. Mathematical simulation of the fruit softening process
After pears were stored for short periods (0.5–2 months) the elasticity index, E, during ripening declined at a steady and uniform rate, and all the curves followed a similar pat tern. This allowed us to use a degradation model to simulate the data sets regardless of the initial elasticity value and the duration of fruit storage. Initially we used a ﬁrst order degradation model as proposed for the mathematical descrip tion of ripeningdependent changes in fruit ﬁrmness (Thai et al., 1990; Schotte et al., 1999; White et al., 2005). Accord ing to this model (the conventional model), the predicted elasticity index, E, on day t, the day after transferring fruit to room temperature is expressed by a simple exponential function
E(t) = E _{0} e ^{−}^{α}^{t}
(1)
where E _{0} is the initial elasticity index, t the time (in days), and α is a coefﬁcient determining the declining rate of the index. Values predicted directly by the LDV method during the course of fruit softening were used to verify the degrada tion model. Predicted elasticity index values were computed using the conventional model (dotted line in Fig. 5) for measurements taken from pears harvested in the 1999 season and kept in storage for 1 month (Murayama et al., 2006). The correla tion coefﬁcient between the actual values determined by the
LDV method and the calculated values were highly signiﬁ cant (r = 0.991). However, the conventional model failed to predict fruit behaviour during the course of ripening, with discrepancies especially evident around days 5 and 15. As an alternative approach we evaluated a reciprocal function (Chatterjee and Price, 1977) to the same data set. The pre dicted loss in the elasticity index is expressed in this case as follows:
loss of elasticity index =
t
α + βt
^{(}^{2}^{)}
where t is time, and both α and β are coefﬁcients. For inﬁnite t the function (2) assumes a value equal to 1/β, therefore β reﬂects a coefﬁcient of fruit elasticity at the overripe stage. α is a coefﬁcient characterizing the rate of decrease in fruit elasticity index. Values for both α and β may be determined by ﬁtting the curve to the set of experimental data collected in the course of fruit ripening. A comparison of both simula tions showed that the loss of the index during pear ripening was more reliably expressed by function (2). Therefore, we assumed for further analysis the reciprocal model as more adequate for simulation of the changes of E in the course of ripening. The predicted elasticity index on day t after trans ferring the fruit from cold storage to room temperature was then equal to
E(t) = E _{0} 1 −
α + βt
t
^{(}^{3}^{)}
Fig. 5 illustrates that the calculated value based on the reciprocal function (3) ﬁts much better the LVD measure ments for the 1MO treatment conducted in 1999 when compared to conventional model given in Eq. (1). The corre lation coefﬁcient between measured and predicted values was slightly higher for the former (r = 0.997) than that of the con ventional model (0.991). Interestingly, the sum of the squares of the residue for the reciprocal model was about ninefold lower than the residue derived from the conventional model (Table 3). The analysis of the residues performed for pears subjected to other storage intervals (2 weeks in 1998 and 1999; 1 month in 1999 and 2002; 2 months in 1999 and 2000), given in Fig. 6 and summarized in Table 3, conﬁrmed the superiority of the reciprocal model for fruit softening simu lation. The residues evaluated using the reciprocal model was considerably lower than those of the conventional (exponen tial) model.
Table 3 Summation of the squares of residues for ﬁtting the exponential and reciprocal models to experimental data at various storage treatments
Model 
0.5 Month storage 
1 Month storage 
2 Months storage 

1998 
1999 
1999 
2002 
1999 
2000 

Conventional model 
7.2 
8.9 
16.6 
37.8 
0.9 
12.5 
Reciprocal model 
2.1 
2.5 
1.9 
9.1 
0.3 
1.8 
Ratio (%) 
29.2 
28.1 
11.4 
24.1 
33.3 
14.4 
The rates of the squares comparing both models are given in percentage.
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Fig. 6. Comparison of residues for the conventional ( ) and the reciprocal ( ) models.
3.6. Description of the pear fruit softening pattern after shortterm storage
Experimental data showed that pears stored for short peri ods (0.5–3 months storage) softened in similar patterns. The initial fruit elasticity index E and decline rate of E was depen dent on the particular treatment and the season. To compile data corresponding to different storage intervals we normal ized each data set according to the following procedure. The normalization procedure consists of normalization of the elasticity (Ycoordinate) and time scale (Xcoordinate), and normalization of time scale is calculated after normal ization of the elasticity. For normalization of the elasticity we calculated the ratio of elasticity measured at different times relative to the initial one and the ratio was deﬁned as normalized elasticity index. To normalize the time scale, it
is necessary to deﬁne a reference time scale and a reference normalized elasticity index. In this study, we adopted 0.5MO treatment data in 1999 as the reference and the reference nor malized elasticity index for normalization of the time scale is the value 0.7 of its initial normalized value. The adjustment of time scale is based on the days when the elasticity index reached the 0.7 elasticity index. Fig. 7A shows the normalization procedure using the data of elasticity decline curve of 0.5MO (the reference time scale) and 1.0MO in 1999. Fig. 7B shows the results of the normalization of the elasticity. Initial elasticity of both groups was transformed as 1.0 at day 0. The elasticity decline curve of 1.0MO did not match with that of the reference data (0.5 MO). Hence, to compare the tendencies of the decline curve of 1MO with that of 0.5MO, we transformed the time scale of 1.0MO to the reference time scale (0.5MO) to normal
Fig. 7. The normalization step of the decline curve of fruit elasticity index. The normalization of the elasticity (Ycoordinate) is calculated primarily and the normalization of the time scale (Xcoordinate) is calculated. (A) The original data of the elasticity decline curve of 0.5MO (the reference time scale) and 1.0MO in 1999. (B) The results of the normalization of the elasticity. Initial elasticity of both groups was transformed as 1.0 at day 0. (C) The results of the normalization of time scale of 1.0MO.
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205
Fig. 8. A normalized elasticity index for pears stored from 2 weeks to 3 months and the curve (solid line) for the normalized data for 0.5 and 1 month treatments using the reciprocal model (Eq. (3)).
ize. Since the normalized Evalue of the reference (0.5MO) and 1.0MO reached 0.7 on day 4 and on day 2.6 (Fig. 7B) respectively, the time scale of 1.0MO was extended by 1.54 (=4.0/2.6). Fig. 7C shows the results of the normalization of time scale of 1.0MO. Generally, in this study, the time scale of the compensation value of each fruit storage interval is calculated as (4/x) where x was the day when the elasticity reached 0.7 of its initial value. The results of normalization of pear fruit stored for dif ferent periods are shown in Fig. 8. The prediction from the reciprocal model (Eq. (3)) with normalized data for 0.5MO to 1MO is shown as a solid line. The data for pears stored for short intervals (2 weeks or 1 month) followed exactly this predicted curve during ripening, but for pears stored for extended intervals (2 and 3 months) no such pattern was observed. After 3 months of storage, changes in the elastic ity pattern deviated even further from the curve, particularly when the normalized elasticity index dropped below a value of 0.6.
3.7. Prediction of ideal ripeness date
An attempt was made to predict the period when pear fruit reached the peak of ripeness using the initial elasticity index E _{0} and the reciprocal model. In order to calculate optimal date of ripening from initial elasticity index E _{0} , the Eq. (3)
Table 4 The normalized elasticity index NE _{R} at peak pear ripeness for various storage treatments
Storage period 
NE _{R} ^{a} 

(months) 
1998 
1999 
2002 
0.5 
0.313 ± 0.0016 
0.320 ± 0.0036 
– 0.273 ± 0.0048 – 0.684 ± 0.033 
1 
– 
0.292 ± 0.0043 

2 
– 
0.513 ± 0.007 

3 
– 
– 
^{a} NE _{R} is normalized elasticity index at peak ripeness for a pear.
was modiﬁed as follows:
E(t)
E 0
= 1 −
^{t}
α + βt
^{(}^{4}^{)}
Assuming E _{R} as the elasticity index at the optimal ripeness and corresponding to the time t _{R} we obtained
E
R
E
0
= 1 −
^{t} ^{R} _{β}_{t} R
α +
(5)
Introduction of the normalized elasticity index at optimal pear ripeness NE _{R} , was deﬁned as
NE _{R} = ^{E} ^{R}
E
0
which yielded the equation in the form of
NE _{R} = 1 −
^{t} ^{R} _{β}_{t} R
α
+
(6)
Solving Eq. (6) for t _{R} provided a formula predicting the time necessary for optimal ripeness counted from the day the fruit were removed from storage.
_{t} R _{=}
(NE _{R} − 1)α
(1 − NE _{R} )β _{−} _{1}
(7)
The normalized elasticity indices at the peak of ripeness for various harvest seasons and storage intervals are given in Table 4. The α and β coefﬁcients are shown in Table 5 and those coefﬁcients were determined from the ripening pattern given in Fig. 3 using the least squares method. The estimation of the times to achieve the peak of pear ripeness after various storage treatments based on the recip rocal model using Eq. (7) are summarized in Table 6. Using this model the predicted time for ripening (t _{R} ) of pears stored for 2 weeks, 1MO and 2MO corresponded well with the averaged Evalue determined experimentally by LDV. The
Table 5 The α and β parameters used for the reciprocal model for selected storage treatments
Storage period (months) 
1998 
1999 
2002 

αβ 
αβ 
αβ 

0.5 
5.62 ± 0.34 
0.90 ± 0.043 – – – 
8.48 ± 0.38 4.64 ± 0.17 5.36 ± 0.46 – 
0.93 ± 0.015 1.00 ± 0.024 1.36 ± 0.054 – 
– 3.64 ± 0.18 – 6.57 ± 0.66 
– 0.97 ± 0.018 – 1.83 ± 0.13 
1 
– 

2 
– 

3 
– 
206
S. Terasaki et al. / Postharvest Biology and Technology 42 (2006) 198–207
Table 6 The range of days and the average day of poststorage treatment when pear fruit were judged to be at peak ripeness and the day predicted by means the reciprocal model from LDV measurements as the day of peak ripeness
Storage period 
1998 
1999 
2002 

(months) 
Sensory evaluation 
Predicted 
Sensory evaluation 
Predicted 
Sensory evaluation 
Predicted 

Range of 
Averaged 
day 
Range of 
Averaged 
day 
Range of 
Averaged 
day 

days 
day 
days 
day 
days 
day 

0.5 
8–11 
9.6 
10.1 
12–17 
15.3 
15.7 
– 
– 
– 
1 
– 
7–11 
11.6 
11.3 
7–14 
9.4 
9.0 

2 
– 
– 
– 
4–9 
7.0 
7.7 
– 
– 
– 
3 
– 
– 
– 
– 
– 
– 
6–10 
7.0 
4.9 
exception was in the case of the 3month storage treatment where a deviation of 2 days was observed.
4. Discussion
The present study shows the feasibility of laser Doppler vibratory methods for nondestructive monitoring of the ripening process of ‘La France’ pears. The consistent reli ability of vibration responses at frequencies below 1500 Hz enhanced the precision in identiﬁcation of the second reso nance peak. The second resonance frequency has been iden tiﬁed for various fruit as a parameter related to ﬂesh ﬁrmness (Abbott et al., 1968) or the elasticity index (Terasaki et al., 2001b). LDV measurements showed that the pattern as the elasticity index E changed in response to the ripening pro cess at 20 ^{◦} C depended on the duration of the preceding low temperature treatment. The index declined constantly during ripening at a constant rate only for those fruit exposed to shortterm storage, from 0.5 to 2 months. Both exponential and reciprocal models were found to simulate the changes associated with the ripening process; however, the recipro cal model corresponded much better with the experimental data. Support for this contention was provided by a consid eration of both the correlation coefﬁcients and by residue analysis. In the case of those fruit stored for 3 months the pattern of change in E conformed to the reciprocal model pre dictions only for the early phase of ripening. Therefore, the reciprocal model expresses the decline in E for short storage ‘La France’ pear better than the conventional model. After extended storage, for 4–6 months, the changes in E were irreg ular, sometime remaining ﬂat or even temporally increasing. Our experiments with the LDV are in agreement with earlier observations reported for ‘Bartlett’ pears, which displayed a uniform decline in fruit ﬁrmness only after short periods of cold storage (Puig et al., 1996). It is well known that pears may fail to ripen normally after extended low temperature storage (Mellenthin and Wang, 1976; Wang et al., 1985). We showed that under the same conditions the elasticity index E is also suppressed. Analy sis of the LDV measurements and sensory panel evaluations indicates that the most acceptable texture quality for the ‘La France’ pear is within the initial elasticity index range of
(8.6–11.4) × 10 ^{6} Hz ^{2} g ^{2}^{/}^{3} . We conclude that extended stor age causes depression of the initial Evalue below a certain threshold and when the initial Evalue falls below this thresh old it precludes the development of high quality tissue texture. A direct comparison of the ripening process for pear fruit stored for various periods is confounded because the initial elasticity index and the subsequent decline rate of this value are inﬂuenced by the length of time held in storage. We pro posed a normalization procedure which allows comparison between different treatments and identiﬁes a common pat tern governing the ripening process. A universal curve was generated based on the reciprocal function calculated using normalized experimental data. We found that the derived curve precisely aligned with the experimental observations for all of the shortterm low temperature treatments (0.5–2 months). Pears stored for more extended intervals (2 and 3 months) also complied with the derived universal curve but only up to the stage when the normalized elasticity index value corresponded to the point when fruit was at the peak of ripeness. After that stage was reached the deviation increased with time. The proposed analysis indicates that the ripening process follows a consistent pattern until the peak of ripeness regardless of length of storage, the initial Evalue or rate of the change in E. We propose that a reciprocal model for the simulation of pear fruit softening during ripening is a better alternative than the conventional model which is based on the exponen tial function. For prediction of the time to achieve ideal pear ripeness using the reciprocal model it is necessary to know three parameters; NE _{R} , α and β. Experimental data show that NE _{R} can be considered as a constant, a constant inde pendent of growing seasons or the duration of storage up to 2 months. The coefﬁcient, β was found to be constant for up to 1 month storage, but then the value for β slightly increased as a function of time, while the parameter α ﬂuctuated widely and irregularly during this period. Our simulation showed that predictions for the peak of ripeness using the reciprocal model are appropriate for storage periods up to 2 months. Further study is, however, needed to identify those factors affecting the parameters comprising the model and to estab lish their physiological basis. Understanding the decline in fruit elasticity after harvest is essential for predicting the shelf life quality of fruit. In
S. Terasaki et al. / Postharvest Biology and Technology 42 (2006) 198–207
207
addition, the decline in the elasticity index reﬂects metabolic and related structural changes in the fruit, mostly in cell walls (Huber, 1983; Sakurai and Nevins, 1993, 1997) that are responsible for fruit softening. Measurements of the inter nal changes of an intact fruit by means of the LDV method provides perspective not only for monitoring the ripening progress and for prediction of fruit quality but it also allows insights into physiological processes. These studies show that probes such as the LDV will ultimately allow a theoretical modeling the underlying events governing fruit softening.
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