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  • Author or Editor: Robert E. Paull x
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Heliconia (Heliconia spp.), red ginger (Alpinia purpurata), and bird-of-paradise (Strelitzia reginae) inflorescences have similar stem structures and postharvest handling regimes. Inflorescences, especially heliconia, should be harvested in the morning while still turgid, and at the most suitable stage of development which varies with the species, its proposed use, and market requirements. Treatments that extend postharvest vase life, either or both enhance water uptake or prevent water loss and provide an exogenous energy source. Use of the most suitable temperature for shipping and storage prolongs vase life. Heliconia should be shipped and stored at >10 °C (50.0 °F), red ginger >12 °C (53.6 °F), and bird-of-paradise at >8 °C (46.4 °F). Sucrose (10% w/v), citric acid [150 mg·L-1 (ppm)] and 8-hydroxyquinoline citrate (250 mg·L-1) are major chemicals used in pulsing and holding solution for bird-of-paradise. Holding solutions for red ginger are similar except 2% (w/v) sucrose is recommended. The response of heliconia inflorescences to different pulsing and holding solutions has been shown to be negligible. A 200-mg·L-1 benzyladenine spray extends the vase life of red ginger and heliconia. Hot water treatment of red ginger at 49 °C (120.2 °F) and 50 °C (122.0 °F) for 12 to 15 min extends postharvest vase life, kills most of the pests that infest red ginger, and reduces the geotropic response. The major postharvest problems are saprophytic mold on bird-of-paradise, negative geotropic response of red ginger, and insect infestation of all three flowers. There is no reported method to control the postharvest nectar and slime production on bird-of-paradise that provides a substrate for saprophytic mold growth. Dipping inflorescences in benomyl or thiobendazole (TBZ) at 200 mg·L-1 does help control postharvest mold growth in bird-of-paradise and heliconia. Compared to most temperate flowers, there is a need for greater understanding of morphological and physiological factors that limit the vase life of heliconia, red ginger and bird-of-paradise flowers.

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Moringa (Moringa oleifera), also known as the pot herb drumstick or horseradish leaves, requires irradiation treatment for insect disinfestation before shipping to the west coast of the United States from Hawai’i. This irradiation treatment as well as packing and air shipment leads to leaflet abscission. To minimize this abscission, the shipper had been including frozen gel packs in the shipping carton. However, these packs are heavy and lead to chilling injury on the leaflets and the development of mold on the leaves adjacent to the gel pack. Holding and shipping the product at 12 °C negated the need for the frozen gel packs. Inclusion of a sachet of 1-methylcyclopropene in the carton significantly reduced leaflet abscission. Further reduction was obtained by the inclusion of an ethylene absorption sachet, thus helping to maintain the overall product quality and marketability.

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Taro [Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott] corms from 57 vegetatively propagated cultivars were evaluated for yield, physical and chemical characteristics, and either microwaved, microwaved and ground into poi, or fried. Poi color ranged from purple to orange or yellow and the dry matter content from 18.3 to 48%. The taste panel preferred poi made from a number of other cultivars than that made from the most common cultivar `Lehua Maoli' used in Hawaii, and a darker bluish-red poi was preferred. Corm total soluble solids were positively correlated to corm specific gravity and dry matter, and to the taste preference of microwaved corm and poi. The fried cultivars varied widely in yield and corm color varied from cream to white. Additionally, some cultivars did not have purple vascular bundles, and others were acrid after frying. Chip oil content was negatively correlated to corm weight, dry weight, and chip yield. The `Bin Liang' cultivar was judged the best overall in fried chip taste. Considerable variation in corm yield and quality characteristics existed in this widely cultivated vegetatively propagated tropical crop.

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The sugar-to-acid ratio of pineapple (Ananas comosus L.) contributes toward giving the fruit its unique flavor. This ratio is an important indicator of both commercial and organoleptic ripeness, and it is useful in determining a harvest date. Citric acid is the major acid in pineapple and usually is determined by titration to a specific pH endpoint, while sugars are determined as total soluble solids by refractometry. Both acid and sugar levels vary with the season in the year-round production cycle. Acid titration is slow and difficult to perform in the field. A digital acidity meter based upon diluted juice conductivity was evaluated for potential field use. The readings obtained from the meter varied with clone and fruit potassium concentration. The meter had utility for field use to evaluate fruit quality and harvest date. Because fruit potassium levels can vary between harvests, the meter should be recalibrated on a regular schedule to adjust for potential crop management and seasonal effects.

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