Reducing fresh fig (Ficus carica L.) postharvest losses

C.H. Crisosto, T.J. Michailides, L. Ferguson, M. López-Corrales, G. Crisosto
Short cooling delays and fast forced-air cooling reduced respiration, weight loss, and softening of fresh fig (Ficus carica L.) efficiently but did not delay decay losses. Because fresh figs deteriorate quickly, a fast cooling system is the currently recommended option, with supplemental sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas treatment to improve disease control, maintain quality and extend the marketing period. A 25 ppm concentration time (hours), (CT) SO2 treatment can be applied to packed containers prior to or during cooling to diminish fruit disease development and overcome one of the main barriers to extending postharvest life and marketing of fresh figs. A SO2 application greater than 25 CT can trigger damage and bleaching, especially in dark fig cultivars. Currently, there are two postharvest technologies that reduce deterioration and extend postharvest life: proper temperature management and effective-safe sulfur dioxide gas application. Nevertheless, fast cooling as forced-air cooling and sulfur dioxide technologies should be applied with caution to obtain the full benefit. We propose designing a SO2-generating pad specifically for the fresh fig industry to avoid bleaching and other potential problems. In this study, we discuss these two postharvest technology applications and describe appropriate forced-air cooling and sulfur dioxide gas application in detail. Our data confirmed that proper temperature management is the most important tool to extend postharvest life and maintain quality during global distribution. The SO2 treatment appears to be a supplement and not a solution to extending fresh fig market life.
Crisosto, C.H., Michailides, T.J., Ferguson, L., López-Corrales, M. and Crisosto, G. (2021). Reducing fresh fig (Ficus carica L.) postharvest losses. Acta Hortic. 1310, 165-172
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1310.25
cooling, fruit diseases, forced-air cooling, hauling, sulfur dioxide application

Acta Horticulturae