Post harvest handling/ management of litchi

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Presentation ByDr. Jadhav Parag Babaji

2Post Harvest Handling Techniques in Litchi Fruit


Litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) is an important sub-tropical fruit tree of the sapindaceae family, indigenous to parts of Southern China. It is highly specific to climatic requirements and its cultivation is restricted to only a few countries, in providing good market opportunities.Litchiis a non-climacteric fruit and its shelf-life at room temperature is usually less than 72hr. Thus, litchi fruit is highly prized in its fresh form. With the increasing popularity of exotic fruits on the world market, litchi production has steadily increased in the past decades. Pericarp browning, desiccation, loss of quality, postharvest decay, and micro-cracking are major constraints affecting commercial quality during storage, transportation or during shelf-life (Sivakumar et al., 2007).3Introduction


Post harvest handling technology has the potential to reduce the post harvest losses and further to maintain produce quality and prolong post harvest life.The evaluation of proper technology of packaging and storage of produce is also important for the development of market strategy and its accessibility at international level for enhancing export potentiality.The post harvest handling techniques for long duration storage like anti-microbial agents, acidifiers and plant growth regulators have suggested by scientists.The postharvest losses reported mainly at harvesting (8.0%), transportation (4.61%) and consumers level (7.5%) (Molla et al., 2010). 4


Litchi (Lychee)S. N:-(Litchichinensis) Genus:- Litchi Species:- chinensisFamily:- SapindaccaeIt is a tropical andsubtropicalfruit tree Origin:- Southern China,Taiwan andSoutheast AsiaFruit type:- Nuts : Large seed, edible aril (flesh) and thin, tough, corky pericarp (skin). Pericarp color:- Pink-red to plumAril:- Succulent, translucent cream or white, exotic and sweet. In India, Litchi ranks:-7thin area 9thin production among fruit crops6th in value terms5Rai and Kumar (2008)

Rai, M. and Kumar, R. (2008). Characterizing varietal wealth of litchi, indian horticulture, 53(3): 12-15.


StateDistrictsBiharMuzaffarpur, Vaishali, Sitamrhi, East Champaran, West Champaran, Katihar, Gopalganj, Siwan, Samastipur, Saran, Sheohar, Darbhanga, Madhubani Purniya,, Begusarai, Saharsa, Bhagalpur, Araria, Kishanganj, Khagariya, Madhepura, MungerAssamBongoigaon, Kamrup, Golpara, Nalbari, Barpeta, Sonitpur, Nagaon, Lakhimpur, Golaghat, Jorahat ,CacharWestBengalMushirdabad, 24- Parganas, Nadia, 24- Parganas South Malda, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, HubliOrrisaSundergarh, Sambalpur, Angul, DeogarhUttarakhandUdham Singh Nagar, Champawat, Nainital, Dehradun, Tehri Garhwal, Pauri Garhwal,HaridwarPunjabGurdaspur, HoshiarpurTripuraWest Tripura, North Tripura, South Tripura, Dhalai Tripura

Litchi Growing States6Menzel and Waite (2009)

Litchi fruit commercially grown in different states that including bihar, assam, west bengal, orrisa, uttarakhand, punjab and tripura.In bihar litchi grown in different districts like Muzaffarpur, Samastipur, Vaishali, East Champaran, West Champaran, Darbhanga, , BhagalpurIn Assam it grown in LakhimpurJorahatIn West Bengal it grown in Mushirdabad, 24- Parganas, Nadia, 24- Parganas South MaldaIn Orrisa it grown in Sundergarh, DeogarhIn Uttarakhand, Nainital, Dehradun, HaridwarIn Punjab it grown Gurdaspur, HoshiarpurIn tripura it grown in West Tripura, North Tripura, South Tripura, Dhalai Tripura.


7StatesVarietiesBiharDeshi, Purbi, China, Kasba, Bedana, Early Bedana, Late Bedana, Dehra Rose, Shahi, Manragi, Maclean, Longia, Kaselia and Swarna RupaUttar PradeshEarly Large Red, Early Bedana, Late Large Red, Rose Scented, Late Bedana, Calcuttia, Extra Early, Gulabi, Pickling, Khatti, Dehra Dun, PiyaziWest BengalBombai, Ellaichi, Early, China, Deshi, Purbi and KasbaHaryana Early Seedless, Late Seedless, Seedless-1, Seedless-2

Varietal Distributions of Litchi in Different States in IndiaRai and Kumar (2008)


Production Trend of Litchi in IndiaAnonymous (2011)

JPB/Fruit Science/FSC-6929

Anonymous (2011)


Litchi Producing States in India

Anonymous (2011)


Anonymous (2011)AliveCan even dieRelease heatBreathesLoss moisture


Biological Factors Involved in DeteriorationRespirationEthylene ProductionCompositional ChangesTranspirationPhysiological BreakdownPhysical DamagePathological Breakdown

Environmental Factors Influencing DeteriorationTemperatureRelative HumidityAtmospheric

BIOLOGICAL FACTORS INVOLVED IN DETERIORATIONRespiration rate increases with temperature, exposure to ethylene, physical and physiological stresses. JPB/Fruit Science/FSC-69213Ethylene may be excluded from storage rooms and transport vehicles By avoiding mixing ethylene producing commodities with those sensitive to ethylene. By using adequate air exchange (ventilation) and using ethylene absorbers.Ethylene control systemCatalytic combustion of ethylene at high temperatures (greater than 200C) Use of ultraviolet radiationWater loss is a main cause of deterioration because it results not only in direct quantitative losses but also in losses in appearance (wilting and shriveling), textural quality and nutritional quality.Transpiration

14RespirationFruit stageImmature fruitHigh(Chan et al., 1998)

Mature fruitLowPaull and Chen (1987)BrewsterFrom 56 to 21ml CO2 /kg/h (8 days of storage at220C)Nagar (1984)CulcuattaFrom 20 to 10ml CO2 /kg/h (6 days of storage at250C)Kedar (2000)Wai Chee5-8ml CO2 /kg/h at 50CWai Chee10-15ml CO2 /kg/h 100CWai Chee25-40ml CO2 /kg/h 200CEthylene productionImmature fruitHigh(Chan et al., 1998)Mature fruitLow

15Symptoms are surface and internal discoloration (browning), pitting, water soaked areas, uneven ripening or failure to ripen, off-flavor development, accelerated incidence of surface molds and decay.Chilling injuryThe freezing point of the tissue is high, and the disruption caused by freezing usually results in immediate collapse of the tissues and total loss.Symptoms include bleaching, surface burning or scalding, uneven ripening, excessive softening, and desiccation.Heat injuryFull sunlight - can rapidly heat tissues that leading to localized bleaching, necrosis (sunburn or sun-scald), or general collapsePhysiological BreakdownExposure of the commodity to undesirable temperatures can result in physiological disorders. (Holcroft et al., 2009)

Are accelerate water loss, provide sites for fungal infection. 161. Very low oxygen (less than 1 percent)2. High carbon dioxide (greater than 20 percent) atmospheres Storage atmospheric composition (Fermentative metabolism):-Physical Damage Surface injuries. 2. Impact bruising. 3. Vibration bruising. 4. Membrane disruption.Mechanical injuries

17The interactions among O2, CO2, and ethylene concentrations, temperature, and duration of storage influence the incidence and severity of physiological disorders related to atmospheric composition.Environmental Factors Influencing DeteriorationLightFull sunlight - can rapidly heat tissues. TemperatureTemperature is the environmental factor that most influences the deterioration rate of harvested commodities.For each increase of 10C (18F) above optimum, the rate of deterioration increases. Atmospheric Composition

A. Pre harvest factors B. Post harvest factorsTemperatureLightIrrigationMineral nutritionChemical spraysMethod of harvestVariety

Mechanical damage due to improper harvesting and handlingPoor transportation and transport without packagingInappropriate storage facilities which leads to spoilage by micro organismsInappropriate post harvest treatments18

Post harvest handling techniques Production practicesHarvestingHarvest handling Pre-coolingSorting WashingGrading Packaging Labeling RefrigerationStorageTransportation Marketing-Export19

Production practices:-Choice of cultivars, Environmental factors, Management practices

Harvesting:-Use appropriate harvest toolsUse only clean transporting containers. Handle as little as possible. Trim fingernails avoid tearing to fruit skin Begin post-harvest treatment. Do not mix high quality produce with damaged produce Harvest during coolest time of the day Avoid unnecessary wounding or bruising Shade harvested produce in the field20

21POSTHARVEST HANDLING TECHNIQUESTo reduce these losses, producers and handlers must understand the biological and environmental factors involved in deterioration and use postharvest techniques that delay senescence and maintain the best possible quality.

QUALITY Components of Quality Textural quality:- Soft fruits cannot be shipped long distances without extensive losses owing to physical injuries. Appearance (visual) size: dimensions, weight, volume Shape and form: smoothness Color: uniformity, intensity Defects: external, internalMorphological (cracking)Physical and mechanical (such as shriveling and bruising)Physiological (soft rot)Pathological (caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses)Entomological (caused by insects) Flavor (taste and smell): Sweetness Aroma (volatile compounds) Nutritive value: Vitamins, Minerals Safety: Naturally occurring toxicants, Contaminants: (chemical residues, heavy metals, etc.), Mycotoxins.JPB/Fruit Science/FSC-69222


1. Colour break (important criteria to decide the harvesting stage) (Singh and Yadav, 1988). 2. Red colour develops (formation of anthocyanin pigments) (Mitra, 2009) 3. Total sugars 55.92-61.70mg/100gm pulp (Chanet al., 1975)4. Reducing sugars 41.51-43.52mg/100gm pulp (Paullet al., 1984).5. Ascorbic acid 44mg/100pulp (Batten, 1989). 6. TSS:TA ratio 40 or greater (Batten, 1989). 7. Basis of taste (Singh and Yadav, 1988).8. General appearance (Chanet al., 1975).9. Over-ripe fruit are sweet, but bland (Menzel, 2009).10. Smoothness of pubicles are the best indicators (Singh and Yadav, 1988).11. Depending upon the cultivar, 65-80 days are taken for maturity from fruit set (Mitra, 2008).Fruit maturity

Mitra, S. K. (2008). Indian Horticulture, 53 (3):11-11.



LadderLitchi picker

Punnete packed in box

Pallets loaded in storage room

JPB/Fruit Science/FSC-69225Pre-cooling methods:-After harvesting, the fruits should be kept in cool, dry and properly ventilated rooms to reduce field heat.Reduce aging due to ripening and softening (Hobson, 1994).Reduce heat production .Delay the water loss.Slow down metabolic activity.Slow down ethylene production.Slow down microbial activity (Spoilage due to bacteria, fungi and yeasts).Inhibit pericarp browning.Decreases sensitivity to ethylene.Several pre- cooling techniques are available.Pre-sizing : For litchi commodity, fruits below a certain size are eliminated manually or mechanically by a pre-sizing belt or chain.

Hydro coolingHydro cooling


Sorting : The sorting process eliminates over ripe, defective, diseased, cut, under or oversize fruits and separates produce by colour, maturity and ripeness. A preliminary sorting of produce should remove unmarketable pieces and foreign matter (plant debris, soil and stones).26


27 Grading : Fruits are sorted by quality into two or more grades according to the specified standards. The term grading may means either sizing or sorting. Grading of agricultural product is nothing but segregating the clean products into different grades, makes them appealing and fetch higher market price. Grading is done manually scale fixed on stand on a platform. New techniques are being developed for grading.Fruits of litchi can be sorted/graded based on 1. Size, 2. Weight, 3. Shape, 4. Surface texture, etc.


CLASSES OF LITCHI AS PER AGMARK STANDARDSGradeGrade requirementsGrade tolerancesExtra classSuperior quality. Free of defects, with the exception of very slight superficial defects.5%Class IGood quality. Slight defects in shape.Slight defects in colouring.Slight skin defects.10%Class IISatisfy the minimum requirements specified in general characteristics. The following defects may be allowed, provided, the Litchis retain their essential characteristics as regards the quality, the keeping quality and presentation.- Defects in shape,Defects in colouring.10%

28Anonymous (2006)

Provision Concerning SizingGradeMinimum Equatorial diameter (in mm.)Extra class33Class I28Class II23

Size toleranceFor all grades, 10% by number or weight of litchis not satisfying the requirements as regards the minimum size, provided, however, that the diameter is not less than 23 mm.29Anonymous (2006)

On the basis of equatorial diameter i.e sizing litchi grade are divided into three types. Extra class, class 1 , class 2.Extra class minimum diameter is 33.I class minimum is 28. II class minimum diameter is 33.diameter is 23.Size toleranceFor all grades, 10% by number or weight of litchis not satisfying the requirements as regards the minimum size, provided, however, that the diameter is not less than 23 mm.


a. Post-harvest physiology1. Fruit maturity2. Browning3. Controlling dehydration4. Controlling rots5. Cosmetic solutions to browning and rotsb. Low-technology handling protocols1. Pre-harvest2. Harvesting3. Packhouse operations4. Sorting5. Grading6. Fungicides7. Disinfestations8. Packing9. Transport10. Marketingc. High-technology handling protocolsTransport Marketing30

a. Post-harvest physiology311. Fruit are also prone to enzymatic (PPO) and non-enzymatic oxidation (ortho-diphenols compound), often leading to melanin by-products.Dehydration may act to disrupt the compartments, increasing the permeability of the membranes, damage to cuticle and presence of lenticels (Underhill and Simons, 1993), causing the pH of the vacuole to rise due to loss of cellular compartmentation and dehydration (Underhill et al., 1992), and accelerating the oxidation of anthocyanins (red flavilium cations) and other cell components ex. Rutin (Menzel, 2009).

2. Browning

JPB/Fruit Science/FSC-69232Causes:Mechanical stress (Scott et al., 1982).Tugging the pedicel at harvest (Menzel, 2009).Sliding the fruit down a rough picking bag (Phillip, 2004).Dropping fruit from short heights (30-60CM).Microbial and insect attack (Phillip, 2004).Extremes of temperatures (Wang et al, 1992).pH >4 and phenolic concentration.Pectin degradable enzyme (Phillip, 2004).Chilling Treatment (Tongadee et al., 1993).Spongy tissue (Phillip, 2004).2. Browning

JPB/Fruit Science/FSC-69233Source:

3. Controlling dehydration

Packing fruit into moisture-proof film, PP, HD polyethylene film, LD polyethylene film, PFMA film and punnets.Surface coatings Waxing Wrapping commodity with thin polymeric films help to restrict water vapor movement without significantly altering diffusion of O2, CO2, and ethylene.Use micro and macro perforated packaging materialsLitchi packed in punnets and wrapped in PVC film and stored at 40 days, weight lost 6.4% at 100C and Weight lost 1.7 % at 00C (Holcroft et al., 2009).Cool temperature storage:- Low temperatures slow transpiration as well as respiration and probably slow tissue senescence.Fruit treated with anti-senescence agents Controlled storage: 3 to 5 percent O2and 3 to 5 percent CO2 has slow water loss.Pericarp dehydration (browning) results in 40% decrease in water content after 48 hr storage at 25C with relative humidity of 60%. Pulp may be harden in over mature fruit as water is lost and lignifications occurs (Lin, 2002).

34A great range of other possibilities exists for controlling rots (decay), such as the 3 to 5 percent O2and 3 to 5 percent CO2mixture mentioned above (Jiang and Fu, 1999). Control measures Includes the use of fungicides, irradiation, heat, controlled atmospheres and biological agents (Jiang et al., 2002 and Halcroft et al., 2009).Sulphur and acids or combinations can be used to stabilize the red colour of the pericarp. 4. Controlling Decay5. Cosmetic solutions to control browning and rots

Harvesting may be carried out By removing whole panicles using secateurs or By cutting or twisting the stems of individual fruit. If fruit are harvested by twisting, care needs to be taken to avoid tearing the skin, caused by pulling rather than twisting.Mechanical injury reduced by avoid drops of produce of greater than 30 cm onto hard surfaces, or 60 cm onto other fruit, can cause cracking, particularly if the fruit are turgid (Bryantet al.,2001). Basket heights of 30 cm or less are recommended (Batten and Loebel, 1984). Harvesting early in the morning or late in the afternoon maximizes fruit water content (Olesen, 2001), and reduces the risk of desiccation. 35Low-technology handling protocols

Lightly spraying the fruit with water may help to maintain fruit quality in hot, dry weather.The transfer of fruit to the pack house soon after harvest minimizes the opportunity for water loss in the field. At the time of harvesting care is taken to harvest the selected bunch, which has attained the desirable maturity.For distant market fruits are harvested when TSS attains 19 Brix and acidity 0.3 to 0.4 percent.The harvesting period is generally May-June, depending upon cultivar and location. However, in the hills of southern India lychee is harvested in November- December36Low-technology handling protocols

Good hygiene in the pack house is required to avoid the spread of diseases during handling. Pathogens can build-up on packing surfaces and fruit crates. These surfaces should be washed with sanitizing agents such as chlorine every day. Water and fungicide dips also require frequent replacement or sanitizing. Waste fruit need to be regularly removed from the packing area to reduce the spread of spores.37Pack house operations


FungicidesPost-harvest treatments with fungicides can slow rot development, but the required equipment and chemicals are expensive. Although several chemicals are effective, few have been registered for commercial use.Importing countries are concerned about sulphur residue in fresh fruit, hazard analysis and good practice.Browning is prevented by fumigation of SO2 results in the formation of quinone-sulphite complexes.It inhibits PPO oxidase activity.Preventing the formation of quinones. Reduce browning.Prevent decay.Prolong shelf life.Fumigation was most effective when whole fruit sulphur residue were 200-355mg/kg immediately after fumigation.38

JPB/Fruit Science/FSC-69239Fruit turn yellow or pale green, and fail to redden (Timberlake and Bridale, 1967).SO2 fumigation can also taint the fruit.Aril turns dull white (Tongadee, 1977).Retaining litchi pericarp colour1. Acid dip treatment:Dipping fruit in dilute HCL help to restore skin colour after fumigation SO2 by converting the anthocynin pigment to red flavilium ion, which predominates at low pH (Duvenhange et al., 1995).SO2 fumigation increase the permeability of the plasma membrane, which allowed the acid to reach the vacuoles.2. Blanching treatment3. Steam treatment 4. Blanching or fumigation + acid dip treatment 5. Growth regulators6. CoatingsDisadvantages of over dose fumigation

40Some export markets require disinfestations of fruit for insect, pests. For example, marketing of litchi fruits from Australia to Japan and the USA is limited because these countries consider litchi to be a host of fruit flies in Australia.

VHT (vapour heat treatment) :- Kill Queensland fruit fly without affecting fruit eating quality.Kill Chinese fruit fly

Irradiation Effective disinfestations quarantine treatment.Disinfestations

41In Asia, bamboo baskets are commonly used to package litchi fruit for local markets. These are lined with litchi leaves or other soft packing material as paper shavings, etc. Plastic crates, fiberboard cartons or polystyrene boxes lined with polythene for export or long distance transportation (Lin et al., 2001). A code stamped on each box indicating production area, grower, cultivar, and shipping date would help trace possible causes of problems.Package should be adequately ventilated for both vertical and horizontal air flow during cooling, storage, and transport. Without good temperature control, plastic covers result in condensation and an increased risk of rots.The ideal package protects fruit from damage and minimizes water loss and condensation.PACKAGING OF FRESH PRODUCE

Helps to reduce or prevent browning by maintaining a higher RH around the fruit inside the sealed plastic film.Preventing water loss due to transpirationThe reduction of PPO, POD activities.Retention of anthocyanin contents helped in maintaining fruit color. It controls postharvest decay due to elevated CO2concentrations inside the packages.Reduce loss of membrane integrity. 42The benefits of MAP

43Respiratory rate and substrate oxidation are reduced.Ripening is delayed.Prolonged the commodity life. Delayed anthocyanin breakdown.The C2H4 production is low.Degradation rate of insoluble pectic compound is reduced.Low O2 ConcentrationTreatment with anti-senescence chemicals (e. g. auxins, gibberelins and cytokinins)Quinone compoundsEthylene inhibitorsSkin coatings with waxesTreatment with fungicidesEthylene absorption techniquesExtension of storage life

Temperature : 2-3C.Relative Humidity : 90-95%.Storage Period : 3-5 weeks.

The main limitations, including Rough roads, Lack of refrigeration and Poor truck suspension, are out of the control of growers. 4. So transport during the warmer part of the day is best avoided, if possible.JPB/Fruit Science/FSC-69244StorageTransport

The fruits cannot be stored at room temperature for more than a few days. It loses its bright red colour and turns brown within 2 3 days after harvesting. Mature litchi fruits can be stored for a period of 8 to 12 weeks at the temp. of 1.6 to 1.70C and relative humidity ranging between 85 to 90%.45STORING

Marketing channel

For the domestic market lychee is packed in 10 kg boxes or baskets having a lining of lychee leaves. Now lychee is packed in 2-2.5 kg boxes and transported in cool-chain.The exportable lychee is packed in 2 to 2.5 kg or 5 to 6 kg boxes after sulphur treatment. 46Marketing

47Lychee is delicate, so minimal handling is preferred.Anti-fungal treatment in the orchard prior to harvest. The harvested fruit would be initially placed in a cool-room to remove the field heat, and then sorted on a roller conveyor in the pack house.

Transport Vehicles should be cooled to the desired temperature before loading the commodity. The pallets should be center-loaded, leaving air channels between the load and walls of the transport vehicle. The load should be secured to prevent shifting of the load during transport. High-technology handling protocols

Strengths for exportIndia is the largest producer of litchi in the world.India produces superior litchi with high pulp to stone ratio and high yields.India has been gifted with unique ripening pattern of litchi.India is in advantageous position with regard to geographical location compared to Thailand and China, as India is nearer to Europe and Gulf countries for exporting litchies to these countries.India has not to compete with Madagascar, South Africa and Australia as these countries produce litchi during November to February months, nor India is to compete with Israel as its litchi arrives during July to October months.Exports and export potential48

JPB/Fruit Science/FSC-69249Maintaining the Cold Chain for litchiProtect the product from the sun Transport quickly to the packinghouseMinimize delays before coolingCool the product thoroughly as soon as possible Store the product at optimum temperature Practice first in first out rotation Ship to market as soon as possibleUse refrigerated loading area Cool truck before loadingLoad pallets towards the center of the truckPut insulating plastic strips inside door of reefer if truck makes multiple stopsAvoid delays during transportMonitor product temperature during transportUse a refrigerated unloading areaMeasure product temperature Move product quickly to the proper storage areaTransport to retail markets or foodservice operations in refrigerated trucksDisplay at proper temperature rangeHarvestHandling at destinationTemporary StorageTransport to MarketCoolingAnonymous (2006)

JPB/Fruit Science/FSC-69250OperationProceduresHarvestingCheck proper maturity and quality.Preparation for marketMonitor effectiveness of the various steps (washing, sorting, waxing, sizing, fungicide treatment, and so on); check culls to determine causes of cullage and sorting accuracy; check shipping containers and other packing materials against specification check packed containers for compliance with grade, size, and weight regulations.CoolingTransportationMonitor product temperatures at key points in the handling system, especially before and after cooling.

Check transit vehicles for cleanliness and cooling before loading, loading pattern, load immobilization, thermostat setting, and placement of recording thermometer.Destination MarketCheck quality and condition of the product and shipping container.

Quality control procedures include the following steps

PPO, Peroxidase activity coupled with oxidation enhances anthocyanin degradation. Pre cooling is essential to remove field heat from the fruit.Post harvest handling techniques to reduce browning and maintain the red colour and prolonged storage life include sulphur, acid dip, irradiation treatments and packaging in perforated plastic bags and storage under cold conditions (CA). Post-harvest decay also occurs due to bacteria, yeast and fungi. Irradiation of fruit is considered to reduce browning and post-harvest losses. Use of perforated polythene bags and storage at 2-5C with RH 85-90% have also been reported to increase shelf-life. Controlled atmosphere storage is considered better for maintenance of the freshness of the fruits. Better post-harvest life of fruits by careful harvesting, pre- cooling, preventing dehydration, disinfestations, sulfuring, acid dip treatment, MAP, transportation and storing (2-3C) would be essential. litchi postharvest handling strategies of the future will emphasis more on the temperature management and non-chemical disease control. Conclusions


JPB/Fruit Science/FSC-69252

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