The tender skin of bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) covers a crisp, fragile flesh that is easily bruised, cracked or crushed. During commercial harvest and postharvest handling operations, bell peppers undergo several transfers, each of which has the potential for causing mechanical injury to the peppers. These mechanical injuries include abrasions, cuts, punctures, and bruises, which affect the market grade and reduce pepper quality and subsequent life. Previous research on handling fresh vegetables and fruits has shown that the instrumented sphere (IS) is a tool that can help identify potentially damaging impacts during harvest and postharvest handling operations. For the study reported, the IS was used to evaluate the damage potential for peppers being hand harvested, and for peppers on a packing line. Studies in the field attempted to duplicate how pickers harvest peppers into pails and then empty them into empty wooden pallet bins. For the packing line evaluated, the diverging roll-sizer had the greatest potential for damage. Adding cushioning to hard surfaces and removing the metal support from under the cross-conveyor would help to reduce pepper damage. Cushioned ramps, and hanging flaps or curtains should be used to help reduce acceleration and drop height between pieces of equipment. All locations should be cushioned where peppers impact a hard surface, and drop height should be limited to 3 inches (8 cm) on a hard surface and 8 inches (20 cm) on a cushioned surface. The speed of all components in the system should be checked and adjusted to achieve full line flow of peppers without causing bruising. Workers must receive instruction on the significance of bruising during the harvest and postharvest operations.
Dale E. Marshall and Roger C. Brook
Alicain S. Carlson and John M. Dole
‘Sparkling Burgundy’ pineapple lily inflorescences; (B) cut ‘Coral’ pineapple lily inflorescences. The objectives of this study were to determine postharvest handling recommendations for optimum vase life of cut pineapple lily using ‘Coral’ ( Fig. 1B ) and
Teeranuch Jaroenkit and Robert E. Paull
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.
David C. Diehl, Nicole L. Sloan, Christine M. Bruhn, Amarat H. Simonne, Jeffrey K. Brecht, and Elizabeth J. Mitcham
and respiration continue ( Zerbini, 2008 ). Growers who supply fruit harvested at optimum maturity must “identify optimal postharvest handling conditions” to preserve fruit flavor ( Kader, 2008 ) and need to understand how postharvest handling
Charles F. Forney
High-quality cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) fruit are required to fulfil the growing markets for fresh fruit. Storage losses of fresh cranberries are primarily the result of decay and physiological breakdown. Maximizing quality and storage life of fresh cranberries starts in the field with good cultural practices. Proper fertility, pest management, pruning, and sanitation all contribute to the quality and longevity of the fruit. Mechanical damage in the form of bruising must be minimized during harvesting and postharvest handling, including storage, grading, and packaging. In addition, water-harvested fruit should be removed promptly from the bog water. Following harvest, fruit should be cooled quickly to an optimum storage temperature of between 2 and 5 °C (35.6 and 41.0 °F). The development of improved handling, refined storage conditions, and new postharvest treatments hold promise to extend the storage life of fresh cranberries.
Dale E. Marshall and Roger C. Brook
Green bell pepper is a popular vegetable in the United States. Michigan is the 5th-leading production area, producing 480,000 cwt of green bell peppers in 1994. The tender skin of the green bell pepper covers a crisp, fragile flesh that is easily bruised, cracked, or crushed. During commercial harvest and postharvest handling operations, bell peppers undergo several transfers, each of which has the potential for causing mechanical injury to the pepper fruit. These mechanical injuries include abrasions, cuts, punctures, and bruises. Mechanical injuries and bruises are defects that affect the market grade of the peppers, and may reduce pepper quality and subsequent shipping life. The impacts occurring in a pepper field and on a Michigan packing line were measured using an Instrumented Sphere. Field tests attempted to duplicate how pickers harvest bell peppers into 5-gal pails and empty them into empty wooden tote boxes. Other tests were on an entire packing line. Most bruising on packing lines occurred at the transfers between different pieces of equipment when the peppers fell or were propelled from conveyors onto uncushioned metal plates or rollers. Several transfer points were identified as areas where much of the mechanical damage occurred and improvements were suggested to the packer. Bell peppers were found to bruise on their shoulders; therefore, shoulder bruises may be used as an indicator of injury. The major problems with packing lines were excessive height differences between line components, lack of control of rolling velocity, and lack of cushioning on hard surfaces.
John M. Englert, Leslie H. Fuchigami, and Tony H.H. Chen
Desiccation stress during the postharvest handling of bare-root nursery plants is often responsible for poor performance after transplanting. Alternate methods of handling desiccation sensitive deciduous trees, such as Washington hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum Med.), and herbaceous perennials species, including Iris, Hosta, and Hemerocallis, are needed for improving survival after transplanting.
A new antidesiccant compound called Moisturin has been useful in reducing water loss from Washington hawthorn trees during storage and shipping, and in improving survival and plant performance during establishment. Hawthorn seedlings or multi-stemmed trees treated with Moisturin before a period of water stress had up to 75% less dieback than control or other antidesiccant treatments.
The use of Moisturin treatment and / or protection with plastic bags of topped bare-rooted herbaceous perennials before five weeks of cold storage (2C) was effective in improving the survival of Iris ensata, Iris sibirica, and Hosta plants. Hemerocallis plants survived equally well with all treatments. The greatest effect on reduction of water loss and improvement of survival was when plants were sealed in plastic bags.
Maria Eloisa G. Quintana and Robert E. Paull
`Solo' papaya (Carica papaya L.) fruit removed at different points from a commercial packing house showed that skin injury due to mechanical damage increased as fruit moved through the handling system. The occurrence of “green islands” -areas of skin that remain green and sunken when the fruit was fully ripe-apparently were induced by mechanical injury. Skin injury was seen in fruit samples in contact with the sides of field bins, but not in fruit taken from the center of the bins. Bruise-free fruit at different stages of ripeness (5% to 50% yellow) were dropped from heights of 0 to 100 cm onto a smooth steel plate to simulate drops and injury incurred during commercial handling. No skin injury occurred, although riper fruit showed internal injury when dropped from higher than 75 cm. Fruit (10% to 15% yellow) dropped onto sandpaper from a height of 10 cm had skin injury symptoms similar to those seen on fruit from the commercial handling system. These results suggest that abrasion and puncture injury were more important than impact injury for papaya fruit. Heating fruit at 48C for ≈6 hours or until fruit core temperature (FCT) reached 47.5C aggravated the severity of skin injury. Delays in the application of heat treatment from dropping did not reduce the severity of skin injury significantly, except for fruit heated 24 hours after dropping. Waxing fruit alleviated the severity of skin injury, whether applied before or after the heat treatment. Skin injury to papaya was caused by abrasion and puncture damage-not impact-and increased during postharvest handling of the fruit. The injury was associated mainly with fruit hitting the walls of wooden bins-bin liners may reduce this injury.
Erin P. Moody, John M. Dole, and Jared Barnes
The cut flower industry faces many challenges due to the difficulty in producing flowers with a long postharvest vase life. To ensure a longer vase life, growers must carefully regulate postharvest conditions and postharvest handling methods. Water
John P. Navazio and Jack E. Staub
Two experiments (1989 and 1990) were designed to characterize the response of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) plants with different leaf types [normal leaf (LL) vs. little leaf (ll)] to high soil moisture tension (SMT) and to determine whether hydrocooling would reduce the severity of pillowy fruit disorder (PFD). Comparisons were made among nine cultivars (7 LL and 2 ll) for aboveground vegetative and fruit response, and between two irrigation regimes. High SMT generally caused increased wilt ratings and stomatal conductance and decreased plant dry weight. PFD severity of fruit from watered plots was less [61% (Expt. 1, 1989) and 26% (Expt. 1, 1990)] than of fruit harvested from plots in which water was withheld. The response of the two ll cultivars to moisture stress differed depending on environmental conditions. Increased PFD severity was associated with increased temperature, lower relative humidity (RH), and excluding hydrocooling during postharvest handling. Of the four storage treatments examined, hydrocooling to ≈8.5C then storage at 15C and 85% RH for 4 days produced fruit with the least PFD symptoms. Fruit of `Carolina' (LL) exhibited the highest PFD ratings, while those of `Calypso' (LL) were consistently low compared to other cultivars. Processors can lower PFD incidence and severity by ensuring that adequate moisture is available to plants during fruit enlargement and that harvested fruit are hydrocooled before shipping and storage.