Maintaining the market life of vegetables held at an ambient tropical temperature by reducing exogenous ethylene
Keywords:Market life, cucumber, golden squash, bitter melon, green bean, pak choy, choy sum, parsley, coriander
AbstractWhile cool chain management is an effective method of extending the market life of horticultural produce, the technology is either not available or too expensive to be utilized in many less developed tropical countries. Extending the market life by reducing ethylene levels around produce could provide a viable alternate technology to temperature control. This study examined the effect of ethylene in the storage environment at 0.001, 0.01, 0.1 and 1.0 ?L/L on the retention of visual quality of cucumber, golden squash, bitter melon, green bean, pak choy, choy sum, parsley held at the tropical ambient temperature of 30 °C at high relative humidity. Reducing atmospheric ethylene from 1 ?L/L progressively increased the market life of all produce. The extension in market life in 0.001 ?L/L was about 13 days for cucumber, 9 days for golden squash and 3 days for green bean. Market life extension was 1-2 days for bitter melon, coriander, parsley and pak choy but this represents an approximate doubling of market life at 1 ?L/L and is considered commercially worthwhile in many developing countries. As a comparison, all produce were similarly held at the ambient temperature of 20 °C and the market life of six vegetables held at 30 °C in 0.001 ?L/L was greater than produce held at 20 °C in 1 ?L/L ethylene while the seventh had a similar market life. Thus, maintaining a low ethylene atmosphere at 30 °C was equivalent to reducing the storage temperature by at least 10 °C. Minimising ethylene accumulation around produce marketed at tropical temperatures was therefore found to generate a meaningful extension in market life.