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 Robert  Madden

Robert Madden

Robert Madden

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Advisor : Cecilia Nunes

Program

MS

Tomatoes are an important specialty crop produced in the United States making up to $2 billion dollars annually. After being harvested, tomatoes must go through a supply chain to get from the farm to the consumer. The tomato supply chain is a lengthy process during which handling, transport, and processing can lead to loss of quality and product waste. Roughly 30% of waste occurs during the supply chain, and resulting in tomatoes with reduced quality at the retail level. This presents not only an economic loss, as an estimated $60 million is wasted each year for Florida tomatoes alone, but also losses of resources and food produced that will never be eaten. Breaking down each step of the supply chain, from the farm to the consumer, can reveal how much tomato fruit is wasted at each step and which conditions contribute to increased waste and loss of quality. I am currently simulating a tomato supply chain under experimental conditions, to better understand where the largest quality drop occurs. After identifying the critical steps during the supply chain where quality is lost, I will be using the classic biochemical approach versus the proteomic approach as a way to establish quality markers for tomato quality. Using proteomics, I would like to determine key markers related to changes in tomato proteome due to temperature abuse.