Automated and non-destructive estimation of soluble solid content of tomatoes on the plant under variable light conditions

Jos Ruizendaal*, Gerrit Polder, Gert Kootstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this study, a method is proposed to deal with the variable light conditions in a greenhouse to non-destructively predict the soluble solid content (SSC) of tomatoes on the plant. It was investigated how well the SSC – measured as °Brix – of tomatoes could be predicted based on spectral data in the range of 470–900 nm, where data acquired in situ (in the greenhouse) was compared to post-harvest data captured under controlled laboratory conditions. To deal with the variation in illumination in the greenhouse, a dynamic-calibration method is proposed, using a grey reference in the image. Ground-truth SSC data of the tomatoes was acquired using a refractometer. Data was collected of three different types of truss tomatoes with a wide range of SSC. Different PLS regression models were then trained on the spectral data in relation to the refractometer values. Trained and tested on all types, the in situ measurements showed a predicted coefficient of determination on the test set, Q2, of 0.95 with a Root Mean Squared Error of Prediction (RMSEP) of 0.29 °Brix using the dynamic calibration, and a Q2 of 0.93 with RMSEP of 0.35 °Brix without using the dynamic-calibration method. The post-harvest measurements resulted in a Q2 of 0.95 with RMSEP of 0.31 °Brix. The results show that spectral imaging using dynamic calibration is applicable for in situ non-destructive prediction of SSC. This method enables high-throughput and non-destructive quality estimation of fruits on the plant in commercial greenhouse conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-90
Number of pages11
JournalBiosystems Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • Dynamic calibration
  • PLS regression
  • Soluble solid content
  • Spectral imaging
  • Tomato


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