Respiration and ethylene production of Feijoa

- Nov 15, 2017 -


Feijoa can presently be stored for 4 weeks at 4 ± 1 °C and a further 5 - 7 days at 20 °C before losing their eating quality.  1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) has been successfully used in extending postharvest life in many horticultural crops.

The respiration rate of young fruit (40 - 60 days old) was high (120 -150 mg CO2 kg-1 h-1) but declined as the fruit developed,
reaching a minimum level of 20 - 30 mg CO2 kg-1 h-1 70 - 90 days after anthesis. Fruit over 90 days old started to go through the respiratory climacteric. During this time fruit ethylene production rose from a preclimateric level of < 10 μlitres kg-1 h-1 to a maximum rate of 700 μlitres kg-1 h-1 when fruit were about 120 days old and beginning to fall from the tree.

The pattern of respiration of developing feijoa fruit was similar to that of other climacteric fruit. The preclimacteric minimum rate of respiration occurred in fruit approximately 80 days after anthesis and fruit respiration increased thereafter reaching the climacteric peak in fruit 110 -140 days old. The respiration rate of feijoas freshly harvested more than 110 days after anthesis was higher than the preclimacteric minimum and continued to rise rapidly after harvest, suggesting that the fruit may have started the climacteric whilst on the tree. An increase in ethylene production accompanied the respiratory surge. Ethylene stimulates the formation of abscission zones, and hence it is probable that ethylene production by ripening feijoa fruit caused their fall from the tree.

The growth and maturation of feijoa fruit appears to be dependent on fruit age rather than environmental conditions has practical implications for the cultivation and harvesting of this crop. If fruit are allowed to set only during a limited period (for example, by thinning late blossoms), the crop would be of uniform maturity and the optimum harvest time easily predicted by assessing the age of fruit.