Forced Ambient Air Storage of Different Onion Cultivars

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Foundación Hondureña de Investigación Agrícola, Apartado Postal 2067 San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
  • 2 A. Medlicott was assigned to FHIA on a postharvest technology project funded by the Overseas Development Administration, U.K. Current address: TROPRO/ADC U, P.O. Box 769, 3rd Floor, 20 Bath Road, Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica.
  • 3 Natural Resources Institute, Chatham Avenue, Chatham, Kent, U.K.
  • 4 Foundación Hondureña de Investigación Agrícola, Apartado Postal 2067 San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

No systematic curing and storage techniques are currently used with onions in Honduras; postharvest losses occur rapidly. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of storage bins (maximum capacity 7t) that use forced ambient air ventilation to manipulate the atmospheric conditions around the onions. The desired storage conditions were 26 to 30C and 60% to 75% relative humidity. Ventilation regimes were manipulated in an attempt to obtain these conditions. The rate of deterioration in four varieties of onions over a 3-month period was determined and compared with onions stored under normal ambient conditions. Marketable onions in the forced-air storage bin compared to the controls stored under ambient conditions after 13 weeks were 82% vs. 37% for `Granex 33'; 71% vs. 40% for `Granex 429'; 63% vs. 31% for `Granex 438'; and 90% vs. 44% for `Texas Grano 502'. This represents a significant increase in the number of marketable onions after storage. All losses were increased by rain and tornado damage after 1 month of storage. The methods used to maintain uniform temperature and humidity conditions in the storage bin are discussed together with the problems encountered. The construction and operating costs are given together with the market prices and the required returns to cover the bin costs.

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