Pg. 71-75 Prediction and improvement of storage potential of South African litchi fruit in the country of import

The first aim of this study was to develop a procedure to predict the length of time a specific consignment of litchis can be safely stored in the country of import. The second aim was to develop techniques that can be used by the importer to lengthen the storage period. In terms of prediction, it proved to be quite helpful to store a sample of litchis at 5°C followed by inspection on a daily basis. When the very first signs of fungal infection appear in this sample, the exporter can assume that similar symptoms will develop in the consignment, stored at 1°C, within 7 to 10 days. In terms of the inhibition of fungal growth, three techniques were evaluated. The first two of these, namely controlled atmosphere (CA) storage and disinfectant fogging, were unsuccessful. On the other hand, the addition of SO2 sheets in the country of import proved to be quite effective. These sheets reduced fungal infection by up to 60% until day 35. However, by day 45 the sheets became ineffective. Further research should aim to establish whether additional SO2 sheet applications should be done. A practical technique to insert the sheets into the pallet, without unpacking the boxes, must also be developed.

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