Mechanical damage is a threat to both food security and sustainability. Bruising is the most common type of mechanical damage, and it causes a huge economic loss due to rejection of fresh produce and downgrading of the appearance quality by consumers. Therefore, this study aims to examine the effect of bruising during postharvest handling using a pendulum test technique. Pomegranate fruit were bruised once at two impact levels (1.189 ± 0.109 and 2.298 ± 0.239 J) and then stored (at 5 °C ± 1 °C and 22 °C ± 1 °C) for 28 days. The study evaluated the effect of impact bruising, storage temperature, and duration on the bruise magnitude and quality attributes of the bruised and non-bruised pomegranates. The results showed that the investigated factors affect the bruise size of bruised pomegranates. Increasing storage temperature from 5 to 22 °C and impact level from 1.189 to 2.298 J increased the bruise area, bruise volume, and bruise susceptibility over time. Alterations in total soluble solids (TSS) and titratable acidity (TA%) were statistically (p < 0.05) induced by bruising, particularly at a high impact. The total soluble solids (TSS) content was reduced in all tested pomegranate fruit (bruised and non-bruised) and recorded the highest percentage decline in those impacted at a high level and stored at 22 °C, at 16.81%. The combination of both studied factors did not affect the water activity (Aw) of aril or the mesocarp of bruised or non-bruised fruit. Bruising parameters and quality attributes were strongly correlated in this study, excluding water activity (Aw). The regression models showed a good determination coefficient (R2) between the predicted and measured values of bruise susceptibility (BS), total soluble solids (TSS), titratable acidity (TA%), and sugar: acid ratio (TSS:TA). The study demonstrates that bruising at a high impact level and long-term storage both affected the susceptibility of pomegranates to bruise, and altered fruit quality. Thus, these factors need to be considered during the postharvest supply chain.
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