U.S.-based ag-tech company Felix Instruments has announced what it describes as "major improvements" to its latest device, the F-751 Avocado Quality Meter.
The meter, which was released in January this year, enables avocado growers and packers to accurately and non-destructively estimate the dry matter of Hass avocados while still on the tree, it says.
According to the Washington State-based company, the initial market introduction made the instrument one of the industry’s "biggest technological leaps to date", and the latest firmware update means it can now effectively measure fruit to an accuracy of within 1.15 dry matter (DM) units on a single fruit and 0.83 DM units on fruit in lots of five.
Dry matter is the primary metric avocado growers and packers rely on to judge fruit maturity and traditionally, the process to assess dry matter is both time and labor-intensive. Using either microwave ovens or food dehydrators, measuring dry matter requires destructively taking avocado samples, weighing them, drying them and weighing them again.
But Felix Instruments says that with the Avocado Quality Meter, which uses near-infrared light, the avocado's dry matter can be accurately assessed "within a matter of seconds", saving time and fruit and often increasing the accuracy of the assessments.
“We are extremely excited about our latest advancements in accuracy,” said Scott Trimble, marketing director for Felix Instruments. “With our ongoing partnership with Dr. Jorge Osuna at INIFAP, our application scientists have made multiple trips to Mexico to both collect data and meet with local avocado growers and packers to test our improved avocado model.
"Our mission is to always be improving and optimizing our tools. With that in mind, we’re producing an incredible instrument now and we are continuing to work on making it even better.”
The Avocado Quality Meter marks the first in Felix’s line of commodity specific quality meters.
“A number of commodities rely on brix and dry matter as markers of maturity,” Trimble added. “We’re deep in development and working with a collection of worldwide partners with the goal of launching additional commodity specific quality meters this year.”
In comments made to FreshFruitPortal.com, Trimble said the company has worked closely with the Mexican avocado industry and has had a "good uptake and response" there.
He added that Feliz was working on gaining wider adoption there and expanding to other Latin American countries, as well as to the U.S., Australia, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, among others.
"Ultimately, our goal is to completely change the landscape of maturity measurement for the entire industry," he said.
Next, the company will launch meters for other fruits including kiwifruit and mango.