This article describes the goals and accomplishments of the project Monalisa (“Monitoring key environmental parameters in the alpine environment involving science, technology and application”). The project, financed by the Autonomous Province of South Tyrol, was the starting point of a plurennial collaboration between Eurac, the Free University of Bozen, IDM and Laimburg Research Centre.
One of the main problems of fruit cultivation is that already a small part of the product with poor quality leads to a decrease of value for most of the remaining fruits as well. The qualitative parameters tested today are the firmness of the pulp, the sugar and the acidity content. Currently, these parameters are tested by destructive methods. However, research works on non-destructive measures, which should reduce the amount of work, material and time needed and make the measurement more precise while examining, ideally, each fruit.
To measure the firmness of the apple in a non-destructive manner, the Space Resolved Spectroscopy (SRS) and the Time Resolved Spectroscopy (TRS) were tested. The first results show that technologies might be adapted to determine structural characteristics of the fruit closer to the categories of the sensoric quality perceived by the consumer than instrumental parameters.
Internal damages of the fruit
Another aspect tested regarded the spotting of internal damages of the fruit. In order to observe the inside of the apple, x rays were used. The results are promising and can function as a base for future research.