Comparison of three shipping packages in reducing postharvest losses of mandarin (citrus reticulate blanco) fruits along the value chain

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Majubwa, R.O
Sargent, S.A
Msogoya, T.J
Chaparro, J.X
Ritenour, M.A
Huber, D.J
Sims, C.A

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A study was conducted to compare the effect of three shipping packages; traditional bamboo baskets (BAMB), bulk on truck (BULK) and stackable plastic crates (SPC) and the effect of fruit position in the package (bottom, middle, and top) on postharvest loss of mandarin (Citrus reticulate Blanco.) fruits along the value chain. A 3x3 factorial experimental design in a completely randomized design (CRD) was used to set up the trial. Harvested mandarin fruits were sorted and the uniform undamaged fruits packed in SPCs, BAMB, and BULK packages. Fruits were transported for 161km from Kikundi village in the Morogoro district through Chalinze to Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA). On arrival at SUA, fruits were held under simulated wholesale (3 days) and retail conditions until when at least 50% of the fruits were rated unmarketable. During the study, fruits were evaluated for external and internal fruit quality including; proportion of decays, weight loss, pulp temperature, soluble solids content (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), SSC/ TA, and Ascorbic acid. Results show a significant interaction between (i) shipping-packages and fruit position with respect to fruit pulp temperature and cumulative decay and (ii) storage time in terms of juice volume, SSC, TA, SSC/TA, and ascorbic acid. For fruit in SPC, decays was higher on fruits at top than at the middle and bottom of the package. SPC reduced fruit decay by 7.9% or 5.1% than those packed in BAMB or BULK, respectively. Mandarin fruits in SPC and BAMB particularly at the middle and bottom of SPC and BULK experienced lower pulp temperature than those at the top of packages. Fruit internal quality; soluble solids content (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), and ascorbic acid (ASC) changed only with storage duration. The study recommends use of SPC for reducing fruit decays, and for slowing fruit pulp temperature rise during shipping. Further study is recommended to establish the cost benefit of SPC over BAMB and BULK packaging as a means to enhance its adoption.



Shipping packages, Citrus fruits, Mandarin fruit packaging, Postharvest storage technologies