S.A. Saleem, A.A. Saddozai, M. Asif, A.K. Baloch
The most promising and locally developed ‘Dhakki’ date cultivar (Phoenix dactylifera L.) of Dera Ismail Khan, is considered amongst the few world-leading cultivars. Small seeded mature fruit has a substantially large size (5-6 cm long and 2-3 cm thick) and heavy weights (20-25 g/fruit). Though astringent at doka (khalal) stage, it develops a fine texture and relish taste on ripening, and fetches a high price on the market. ‘Dhakki’, a crop of national importance is facing diversified problems. Coincidence of ripening period with the stormy monsoon season is the most damaging factor for ‘Dhakki’, which is a late cultivar suffering quality degradation and post harvest losses of enormous amounts. Further, the product becomes awfully contaminated and fermented using traditional techniques of exposing the fruits on mats to the sun at open air. The aim of the study was to induce a well advanced rapid artificial ripening in ‘Dhakki’ fruits harvested at firm and astringent doka stage, and complete curing/drying before the fall of monsoon. Brine and vinegar acid has been investigated as ripening initiator/accelerator, applied individually and/or in combined form at 0.25 to 3.5% concentration. The doka immersed in a treatment solution for 5 min was ripened/cured in an aerated incubator at 38 to 40°C for 72 h. Observing changes in color shade, fruit weight, pulp, texture, total soluble solids, appearance and the extent of ripening assessed the efficiency of the treatment. All of the treatments induced ripening of varying degree, however, 2% brine appeared highly effective for inducing accelerated ripening. The process caused 75% excessive yield with premium quality product and saved 2-3 weeks period required for attaining the dong (rutab) stage, besides overcoming the expected excessive damages caused by monsoon and insect/bird attack.
Saleem, S.A., Saddozai, A.A., Asif, M. and Baloch, A.K. (2010). IMPACT OF ARTIFICIAL RIPENING TO IMPROVE QUALITY AND YIELD FOR THE EXPORT OF 'DHAKKI' DATES . Acta Hortic. 882, 1125-1134
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2010.882.130
'Dhakki' dates, Phoenix dactylifera, accelerated ripening, quality changes, brine and vinegar acid, quality, curing/drying, doka, dong, Pakistan

Acta Horticulturae