FACTORS ESSENTIAL FOR POST-HARVEST SHELF-LIFE EXTENSION OF CARICA PAPAYA L FRUITS
Published: 10 Jun 2015
Abstract: The burden of disease of Carica papaya L may account for its reduced commercial value. As much as the fruit is cherished amongst Nigerians its cultivation at commercial scale is limited. There are presently no industries in Nigeria utilizing the fruits or part of the plant for beverage production or in other industrial processes. This study was carried out to identify those factors that can be modified to extend the shelf-life of the fruit thereby enhancing its industrial value as a commercial crop. A 4 year field and experimental investigations in a monoculture C. papaya model demonstration farm revealed the following. Maturity of fruit and timing harvest are most critical in prolonging and by 25% shelf-life of healthy harvested fruit. Age of the plant which co-related with susceptibility to disease was evident in stands 2 years and older. Mechanical damage associated with harvesting technique and activities of pests (arthropods, molluscs, millipedes and bird), and farm maintenance played significant roles on the post-harvest quality of the fruit. Adequate understanding of the interplay of these factors and their regulation can be harnessed for extending the shelf-life of C. papaya fruit.
Keywords: carica papaya fruit, disease incidence, post-harvest, shelf-life
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