Smartfresh (1-methylcyclopropene; 1-MCP) is an ethylene inhibitor used by, amongst others, the apple and avocado industries. The present study was conducted to establish whether 1-MCP has a role to play in the South African litchi export industry. To do this, 1-MCP was applied to sulphur fumigated as well as to sulphur free HLH Mauritius litchi fruit.
1-MCP was not found to have an effect on sulphur fumigated fruit. However, it did have a positive effect on sulphur free litchis washed with a disinfectant and stored in modified atmosphere bags. The addition of 1-MCP was found to significantly reduce the incidence of fungal infections. The results further suggested that it is most effective when placed directly into the bags ( compared to treating the fruit in a cold room prior to packing).
Further research should include the evaluation of Smartfresh with fruit of different maturity stages and it should also be tested on the McLean’s Red cultivar.