عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction. Citrus is one of the most commercially important horticultural crops grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. They are classified as non-climacteric fruits. Harvesting date and storage can influence citrus fruit quality and shelf life. In Iran, some members of citrus family including sweet orange and mandarin are produced as an export crop, so research on fruit quality and storage life is needed. There is no available scientific literature regarding the effect of harvesting date and storage duration on retaining the postharvest physicochemical properties of Kinnow mandarin under cold storage. The main objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of harvesting date and storing time on shelf life and quality of Kinnow mandarin fruits under Jiroft weather conditions.
Materials and Methods. Investigations were carried out on mandarin (Citrus reticulata) cv. Kinnow grafted on sour orange rootstock in an orchard located in Jiroft and Kahnooj Agricultural Research Center, Jiroft, Iran. Fruits were harvested on 6th December, 21th December, 5th January, 20th January and 4th February. After cold storage for 30-90 days at 4-6 °C, the fruit was analyzed for quantitative and qualitative characteristics including weight of fruit, peel, meat, pulp and juice, fruit weight loss, pH, total soluble solids (TSS), titratable acidity (TA) and TSS/TA. Experiment was arranged in a split plot based on randomized complete block design (RCBD). Data analysis and similarity coefficient (Pearson's method) were performed using SPSS.16 software, and means comparison was performed by using Duncan's multiple range test at 1 and 5% probability levels.
Results and Discussion. The results showed that the interaction effect of harvesting date and storage period on the weight of the fruit, meat, pulp and juice and TSS, TA and TSS/TA was significant at 1% probability level. Weight of harvested fruits from 6th December to 5th January was constant, but fruits harvested on 20th January and 4th February were heavier as much as 12.5 and 14.3 percent, respectively, compared to 6th December. Fruit weight loss increased along with the increase in storage time duration, so that mean fruits weight loss percentages were 3.5 and 16.5 at 30 and 90 days of storage, respectively, due to continued transpiration of the fruits after harvesting. As a result of transpiration, water enters into the atmosphere through the pores existing on fruit surface. The greatest fruit weight (121.8 g) was recorded for combination of harvesting on 20th January and 30-day storage. Fruits harvested on 20th January and 30-day storage had higher meat and pulp weight (89.6 and 52.3 g, respectively) and a significant correlation coefficient was detected between them. Changes of fruit juice pH at different stages of fruit ripening and storage times did not follow a fixed pattern, though pH slightly increased in some cases during storage, which can be due to oxidation of citric acid during storage. The maximum TSS was recorded for harvesting on 5th January and 90-day storage (11.7 °Brix) as well as 4th February and 60- and 90-day storages (11.8 °Brix), while the minimum TSS was observed on 6th December and 30-day storage (8.7 °Brix). The results exhibited that TSS content of fruit juice increased when storage period increased, which was possibly attributed to the hydrolysis of starch and increase in sucrose content. However, increase in TSS during storage is not always directly related to changes in the simple sugar content of fruit. During storage and maturation of the fruits on the tree, TA reduced due to the use of citric acid in respiration. Taste index (TSS/TA) in fruits harvested at full maturity was greater than that in fruits harvested in the fall. Besides, TSS/TA increased during storage, so that the highest and lowest average TSS/TA ratios were related to harvesting on 4th February and 30-day storage as well as 6th December and 30-day storage, respectively. According to the results, fruits did not reach full maturity until 5th January under Jiroft weather conditions.
Conclusion. Postharvest quality and shelf life of Kinnow mandarin fruits were affected by harvesting date and storage duration. Delay in harvest resulted in an increase in fruit weight, TSS and TSS/TA. TSS and TSS/TA were higher when fruits harvested on 4th February. Fruit weight loss increased when the storage period increased.. Overall, 4th February is the best date to harvest Kinnow mandarin fruit in Jiroft.