Pg. 57 An Overview of Post-Harvest Storage of Mauritius Litchi Fruit

Litchi fruit, although of tropical origin, is non-climacteric and therefore able to endure low storage temperatures. Unfortunately, however, the litchi rind is relatively thin and lacks a thick, durable cuticle. Consequently, desiccation is a major factor during post-harvest storage life. As a result of desiccation, litchi fruit rapidly lose red rind colour and unless treated immediately after harvest, will turn an unsightly brown colour. Presently, the South African industry uses sulphur fumigation to prevent browning, but sulphur is undesirable for several reasons, viz. it causes aftertastes, is ineffective against some fungi and constitutes a potential health problem. Furthermore, overseas markets have lowered the tolerance level of sulphur to 10 mg/kg sulphur in the fruit flesh. Consequently, it was imperative that research aimed at eliminating sulphur fumigation be undertaken.

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