Moringa (Moringa oleifera), also called drumstick tree and horseradish tree, is a fast-growing tree that is grown throughout the tropics for human food, as an herb, for medicine, as livestock forage, as a dye, and for water purification. Almost every part of this tree has value as food (Gupta et al., 1989). Moringa produces long pods that have the taste of asparagus and a mass of very small leaflets. The young plants less than 50 cm tall are eaten as a tender vegetable. The small leaflets are eaten as greens in salads, in vegetable curries, as pickles, and for seasoning and can be sun dried and stored for future use. The flowers can be eaten or used to make a tea. Leaves and branches can be fed to livestock as fodder. Moringa is widely used as a pot herb in the Philippines known as malunggay (Foidl et al., 2001; Jahn, 1989; Radovich, 2009) and is shipped from Hawai’i to the west coast of the United States, especially California, for this purpose.
To ship the leaves from Hawai’i to the mainland of the United States, they must be treated to control insects (Follett and Weinert, 2012; Roberts and Follett, 2017). The most common treatment is gamma irradiation with a minimum dose of 400 Gy for all insects other than tephritid fruit flies [Tephritidae (Follett, 2009)]. However, moringa leaves, when shipped from Honolulu after irradiation, often show leaflet abscission from the rachis. Other conditions include leaflet blackening, which especially occurs on leaves next to the ice pack, if used, during shipping. Mold is sometimes seen among the leaves near the ice pack after it has thawed. This research was undertaken to determine if treatment with 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) can minimize leaflet abscission and avoid the use of cold packs in the shipping carton.
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