The tolerances of horticultural commodities to CO2 are outlined, as are also the associated biochemical and physiological aspects of differences in tolerance between and within commodity types. These tolerances are related to responses to the use of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) during storage. Commodities vary widely in their responses to elevated CO2, and low tolerance to the gas limits its use to maintain quality in some cases. Standard recommendations are generally those established to extend the storage period of any given commodity as long as possible, and safe atmospheres may differ substantially for shorter term exposures used in MAP. Use of MAP for storage of minimally processed products represents an important example of this, as storage periods and quality attributes required for commercial marketing of cut products can be very different from those of the whole product. Factors such as cultivar and postharvest treatment before imposing high CO2 can influence responses of commodities to CO2, but are rarely considered in cultivar selection or in commercial application. A better understanding of the physiology and biochemistry of commodity responses to CO2 is required for increased use of MAP.
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