ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 94 Number 2
Fruit volume and width at harvest can be used to predict shelf life in pepper (Capsicum chinense Jacq.) (122)
Fifteen morphophysiological fresh fruit characteristics were evaluated in purelines derived from 24 accessions of Capsicum chinense (Jacq.) to determine the association of these attributes with shelf life. The accessions were planted under field conditions (Elibox et al., 2015) in a randomized complete block design with three replications; and replicate fruits collected from the fifth harvest were evaluated for color (CIE L*a*b*), weight, length, width, volume, surface area, surface area to volume ratio, epicuticular wax content and thickness of cuticle, exocarp, mesocarp, endocarp, and pericarp. Differences between accessions for all the morphophysiological characteristics were significant at P < 0.001. When the characteristics were subjected to Pearson’s correlation with shelf life parameters viz. weight loss, days to 20% pedicel necrosis and days to incipient pericarp necrosis (Elibox et al., 2015), nine (initial color lab space a*, b*, L*; weight, width, volume, surface area, surface area to volume ratio and exocarp thickness) were positively or negatively associated with shelf life. Accessions with wide fruits were generally heavier, had a larger volume, larger surface area, smaller surface area to volume ratio and took longer time to attain 20% pedicel and incipient pericarp necrosis (had longer shelf lives). Accessions with greener, darker fruit colors at physiological maturity had longer shelf lives and those with heavier fruits and possessing thicker exocarps had lower rates of weight (water) loss. Of the characteristics that were associated with shelf life, three, viz. fruit volume, width and surface area to volume ratio were highly autocorrelated and were found to be able to reliably predict shelf life on the day of harvest. As fruit volume and width are easy to measure and showed the strongest correlations with shelf life parameters, they could be used as reliable indicators of shelf life in pepper breeding.
Keywords: Fruit dimensions, pedicel necrosis, pericarp necrosis, postharvest storage, water loss