Post-harvest losses and quality changes in hot peppers (Capsicum frutescens L.) in the roadside marketing system in Trindad
Keywords:Post-harvest losses, Quality changes, Hot red peppers, Hot yellow peppers, Roadside marketing, Trinidad
AbstractPost-harvest losses and quality attributes of fresh yellow and red hot peppers were examinded through five defined stages: (A) field harvest, (B) packing house arrival, (C) storage conditions, (D) roadside market display and (E) consumer conditions in the post-harvest handling system of roadside retail markets. The nature of damage and the extent of quality changes in the commodity at these stages were assessed. Total post-harvest losses amounted to 28.6 to 38.7% of initial commodity weight in dry and wet seasons, respectively. Bruising was the major cause of wastage, followed by physiological and pathological damage in the field, packing house and stiage stages. Chilling injury induced during storage at 2-4 degree Centigrade and 50-60% r.h. became increasingly visible at roadside display stalls (Stage D) and accounted for higher levels of physiological and pathological damage in the last two stages of the system. Increase of commodity pH at roadside display and consumer stages, compared with earlier stages, was noted but total titratable acidity increased at the last stage. Vitamin C content decreased in both red and yellow fruit under ambient conditions. A progressive increase in percentage fresh weight losses followed the decline in firmness as the fruits moved through the system.