Postharvest Quality of Lychee Fruit: Role of Relative Humidity and Panicle

in HortScience
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  • 1 Horticultural Sciences Dept., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

Pericarp browning, weight loss, and the associated quality deterioration are the unsolved postharvest problems of lychee (Litchi chinensis Sonn.). Freshly harvested fruits (`Brewster') were stored ± plastic wrap (99% and 84% relative humidity, RH, respectively) and ± panicle at 5°C for 18 days to simulate commercial handling scenarios. There were no significant losses in pericarp color (L*, hue angle, chroma value), total soluble solids, and total sugars from initial values for wrapped fruits. Wrapped lychees were 100% marketable, compared to 17% for unwrapped fruits. The former retained higher weight, moisture content and total titratable acidity (TTA, pulp), and lower pulp pH. Colletotrichum sp., Cladosporium sp., and Alternaria sp. caused decay in 56% of unwrapped fruits, whereas wrapped fruits were free of decay. Fruits with panicles had significantly higher weight loss (3%) than clipped fruits for both wrapped and unwrapped fruits. Pulp TTA tended to decrease and pH to increase more in fruits with panicle. Postharvest quality of lychee fruits was significantly extended by removing the panicle and maintaining nearly saturated RH during handling and storage.

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