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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 7270

Postharvest storage of southernpeas, Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp., is a crucial point of the production process. Governed by consumer demands, farmers strive for a product that is high in quality and freshness, and has an appropriate texture and appealing color. Improper storage of southernpeas will result in their eventual deterioration, unacceptance, and possible loss of profit. Because of this, an appropriate storage facility and temperature should be devised that will benefit both farmer and consumer. In an effort to prevent potential losses of southernpeas, a study was conducted to determine the best environmental condition at which to store them to potentially extend their shelf-life. In 2004, five southernpea varieties—`Early Acre,' `Early Scarlet,' `Excel Select,' `Coronet,' and `Arkansas Blackeye #1'—were planted in a randomized block design on the University of Arkansas horticulture farm. Upon maturity, 12 green pods of each variety were subjected to a sweated and unsweated treatment and then shelled. After shelling, the seeds were subjected to four different environmental conditions evaluating each on the basis of changes in physical appearance. Further objectives of the study were to determine the best variety, environmental condition, and treatment to maintain product quality in a manner that would relate to growers on a commercial basis. Results showed that a refrigerated environment at or near 3 to 5 °C is a good environment to store this particular crop for nearly 2 weeks. It also appeared that the sweated treatment assisted with the shelling process and maintained the appearance of each variety longer. From the results, temperature and percent relative humidity are arguably two important components of postharvest storage that have the potential of negatively affecting the crop.

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