The effects of pre-harvest application of hexanal formulations on time to ripening and senescence and fruit retention time in limequat (Citrofortunella floridana J.W. Ingram & H.E. Moore)
Keywords:Enhanced freshness formulation, hexanal, limequat, pre-harvest, applications, fruit retention
AbstractLimequat (Citrofortunella floridana J.W.Ingram & H.E.Moore), unlike many tropical fruits, is produced year-round in Trinidad and Tobago and there are periods where other seasonally available varieties of limes, for example, the West Indian variety, are in greater demand than the limequat, resulting in glut supplies and high losses in the field. Limequat has been known to produce in excess of 250,000 fruits per hectare and during periods of low demand, much of these fruits go to waste. Retention time of the fruit on the tree is usually around 35 days, after full colour change from green to yellow. Due to its soft texture, the fruit bruises very easily leading to high post-harvest losses and loss of earnings to farmers. This study was conducted to determine the effects of pre-harvest treatments with enhanced freshness formulation (EFF), applied at different concentrations and different application intervals, on retention time of the fruit on the tree and time to colour change of the fruit as an indicator of onset of senescence. Trials conducted showed that pre-harvest biweekly applications of EFF at four percent was more effective in delaying the onset of colour change of the limequat fruits than EFF application at two per cent. It was observed that application of two per cent EFF bi-weekly for four weeks gave a greater reduction in the average number of fruits showing full colour change after treatment when compared to weekly application. Results of the study indicated that application of four percent EFF at bi-weekly spray intervals for one month significantly reduced the rate of colour change of limequats on the trees. Weekly applications of two percent EFF gave the best retention times on the tree, in excess of 99 days, after treatment. Thus, treatment with EFF reduced pre-harvest losses and increased the time for which marketable quality of fruits was maintained.