Postharvest Response of Winter Squash to Hot-water Treatment, Temperature, and Length of Storage

in HortTechnology

Winter squash are grown in northwestern Mexico for export to distant markets. During transport, fruits deteriorate and develop fungal rots. Squash (Cucurbita maxima Duch. `Delica') was given hot-water dips at 50C for 0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 min and stored at 10 and 20C with 75% RH for 4, 8, and 12 weeks. The highest weight loss (11.3%) was in fruits without hot water treatment stored at 20C for 12 weeks—weight losses were 3.6%, 7.2%, and 10.2% in the 4-, 8-, and 12-week storage periods, respectively. At 10C, the weight losses were 3.4%, 6.8%, and 7.6% for the same periods, respectively. ß-carotene content increased from 36.2 to 54.2 mg/100 g after 4 and 8 weeks of storage, respectively, but declined to 42.8 mg/100 g after 12 weeks. Chlorophyll content decreased as temperature and storage period increased, changing from 16.7 to 10.8 mg·liter-1 at 10 and 20C and from 16.9 to 15.8 mg·liter-1 and 8.8 mg·liter-1 at 4, 8, and 12 weeks, respectively. Fruits had decay caused by Rhizopus and Aspergillus. Weight loss, ß-carotene and chlorophyll contents, and decay were not affected by length of hot-water treatment. General appearance was better in fruits stored at 10 than at 20C.

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