Pg. 33-36 Evaluation of the Postharvest Characteristics of Litchi Fruit from the Cultivar Development Programme

The cultivar development program of the ITSC recently released two new litchi cultivars, namely Wai Chee and Fay Zee Siu, to the industry. Postharvest evaluation of new cultivars is crucial to ensure that the fruit can withstand sea export conditions. For this reason, the post-harvest characteristics of Wai Chee, Fay Zee Siu, Kwai May Pink and Haak Yip were evaluated and compared with those of the two widely grown cultivars, HLH Mauritius and McLean’s Red. HLH Mauritius achieved the best results with regard to firmness and percentage mass loss and McLean’s Red the worst. The results of the new cultivars were intermediate to these two cultivars. In terms of spoilage, Fay Zee Siu showed promise with a high degree of resistance to fungal infection, while the other cultivars again attained intermediate results. Except for unacceptably high values obtained for McLean’s Red, the SO2 residues in the peel and aril, did not differ much between the cultivars directly after fumigation. It is also encouraging that the SO2 – residues reached values of 10ppm or less after the full storage period in all cultivars except McLean’s Red. In view of the above results, the release of Wai Chee and Fay Zee Siu as new cultivars is warranted. However, as has happened before with various subtropical crops, certain shortcomings only become apparent after full scale commercial exportation. It is therefore suggested that experimental export trials and consumer evaluations be conducted as soon as possible.

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