DescriptionEstablishing the optimal harvest time for fruit and vegetables is a crucial issue for farmers, as fruit quality and shelf life potential are closely related to the ripening stage at the time of harvest. This is a very useful tool both for practical and scientific applications, since it allows one to monitor on-tree fruit ripening, to accurately establish the optimal harvest time, and to reduce the variability which is present in fruit batches. The DA-meter is used in the scientific field to support research about the activation of the genes that influences the fruit maturation.
1) by the farmer, in order to optimize the trees’ pruning, to obtain a very homogeneous product and, as a result, to reduce the number of picking stages
2) by the farmer, during the harvest-time, in order to identify the best moment for the picking and to select samples for the distribution of the staff picking the fruit
3) by the storekeeper, in order to know the maturation state of the stored fruit and to know, at any time, what is the shelf life that the product is supposed to have
4) at the retailer, in order to buy products at the intended maturation level
5) at the retailer, in order to select the most ripened product to sell
How It Works
The DA Meter uses near-infra-red spectrophotometery (NIRS) technology. By means of absorbency properties, it measures the chlorophyll content in a fruit. The content of chlorophyll in a fruit is a precise index of a fruit’s ripening state. The result is unrelated to weather and temperature, factors which influence other kinds of measurement such as the brix index.
DA index is an index of the quantity of chlorophyll in a fruit and, as a consequence, of his ripeness state. This index decreases in value during the ripening process of the fruit, until it reaches very low values when the ripening is complete. This index decreases in value during the ripening process of the fruit, until it reaches very low values when the ripening is complete.
Each kind of fruit has specific DA values according to the different phases of maturation.
DA index is in opposition with the saccharometric degree measure and the pulp hardness measure; it provides a different measurement which is essential for a correct harvest.
The obtainment of the measure is neither destructive nor traumatic; it is possible to get measures also directly on the plant by means of a portable, light instrument which is very practical and simple to use.
DA measure can be obtained in a line, thus guaranteeing an optimal distribution of products for storage and for delivery.
It contains an SD Card (2 Gbytes) and a USB interface which enables computer linking.
More About the DA Index1) The DA Index is not dependent on the season’s course.
The climatic conditions have indeed an influence on some parameters, such as the saccharometric index. The average content in sugar is bound to be high, in favourable years, even before the fruit reaches the correct ripeness level. On the other hand, bad climatic conditions in specific seasons will prevent fruit from reaching a high sugar level, even at complete ripeness. As a consequence, the saccharometric index is able to reveal whether a fruit tastes good, while the DA index allows you to discover when the fruit, either good or bad tasting, has actually reached the optimal ripeness level. In favourable years, the only consideration of saccharometric indications would anticipate the harvesting too much, having the effect of picking up fruits which is sweet but not as sweet as could be if picked up at the optimal ripeness point. At the extreme, during a bad season, the harvesting would be postponed too much, with negative implications in terms of preservability and storability, and without having anyway reached a satisfactory sugar level. By using the DA instead, it is possible to always pick up fruit at the optimal ripeness level, that is, when the fruit has reached the best sugar degree possible before damaging preservability.2) DA index varies along with the fruit life cycle.
Measurable variations are available throughout the entire life of the fruit, including storage. This allows the DA index to provide a reliable indicator of fruit ripeness a long time earlier than the moment of picking and to continue to monitor the ripeness even after that moment, in the refrigerator and at the moment of consumption. Without this monitoring of the fruit ripeness, the consistency of the fruit pulp could tend to remain almost unchanged up to the moment of consumption, while some typologies tend to reach their final colour much earlier than the optimal harvest time, thus not providing a reliable indicator of the ripeness stage of the fruit itself.