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Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality

Adel A. Kader
Department of Pomology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

Maturity Indices
Skin color change from light-brown with a tinge of green to light-brown to dark-brown.

Flesh color change from green to pinkish brown to reddish brown in mamey sapote (can be examined through a small scratch on the surface).

Quality Indices
Appearance: size, shape, color, freedom from defects, and freedom from decay

Firmness (firm-ripe sapotes are preferred)

Flavor is related to soluble solids content (13-26%) and acidity (0.2-0.3%)

Optimum Temperature
14°C ± 1°C (58°F ± 2°F); storage potential is 2-4 weeks (depending on cultivar and and ripeness stage).

Optimum Relative Humidity
90-95%; packaging in perforated plastic bags or box liners reduces water loss at lower relative humidities.

Rates of Respiration
Climacteric respiratory pattern; peak range = 25-35 ml CO2/kg·hr at 20°C (68°F).

To calculate heat production multiply ml CO2/kg·hr by 440 to get Btu/ton/ day or by 122 to get kcal/metric ton/day.

Rates of Ethylene Production
Peak range at 20°C (68°F) = 2-4 µl/kg·hr

Responses to Ethylene
Exposure of mature sapodilla and mamey sapote fruits to 100 ppm ethylene for 24 hours at 20°C (687deg;F) hastens their ripening. Removal of ethylene from the storage environment delays deterioration.

Responses to Controlled Atmospheres(CA)
Storage in 5-10% CO2-enriched atmospheres delays ripening. Higher CO2concentrations may damage the appearance and taste of sapotes.

Physiological Disorders
Chilling Injury.  Exposure to temperatures below 5°C (41°F) for more than 10 days causes chilling injury as indicated by dark-brown spots on the peel, failure to ripen, off-flavor development, and increased decay incidence after transfer to higher temperatures.

Pathological Disorders
Anthracnose.  Anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides can be a serious problem in humid production areas. Effective preharvest control strategies reduce postharvest lesion development.

Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center
Department of Pomology
University of California
One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616-8683
Send comments and questions to Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center
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Produce/ProduceFacts/Fruit/sapotes.html updated July 5, 2000

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