Extension of the storage life of plums (Prunus salicina) using controlled atmosphere shipping
The original publication is available at http://www.actahort.org/books/682/682_225.htm
South Africa is an important supplier of stone fruit to the northern hemisphere in the months of November to March. The voyage by sea to the main markets in the UK and Continental Europe necessitates production of cultivars that are able to maintain an acceptable eating quality for a period of at least four weeks from the time of harvest. Four Japanese plum (Prunus salicina) cultivars were examined with the view to extend their storage life under regular atmosphere (RA) conditions at -0.5°C following either RA or controlled atmosphere (CA) shipping, using either the commercial dual temperature (-0.5°C, 7.5°C, -0.5°C) or a single high temperature (7.5°C) regime. The cultivars included the locally bred ‘Sapphire’, ‘Songold’ and ‘Laetitia’ as well as ‘Angeleno’ which is well known in plum producing countries internationally. Storage life of all four cultivars could be extended for an additional two to three weeks under RA conditions at -0.5°C without adverse effects on quality, provided that CA was applied during the shipping phase, either under the dual or single high temperature regimes. Fruit firmness was best retained under CA (dual temperature) conditions. These fruit also showed the lowest respiration rates, ethylene production rates and internal ethylene content. Skin colour development was better under single high than under dual temperature conditions, and also better under RA than CA shipping.