Post Harvest Handling of Litchi

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Post-harvest handling of litchi

Azqa Azhar12-arid-193Post-harvest handling of litchi

Post-harvest handlingPost-harvest handling reduce the product loss to spoilage or shrinkage will reduce microbial risk this include:CleaningSortingPackagingCoolingStoragetransportation

litchiBotanical name: litchi chinensisFamily: SapindaceaeClassified as drupe fruitHighly perishable in natureFruit is prone to water lossPericarp browning25-40% post harvest losses

Status of litchi production

Pakistan produces 3000 tons of litchi which is 0.31% of world production.

China is the major producer of litchi

Other than china India, Vietnam, Thailand, Madagascar, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Australia, Mexico, south Africa are the producer of litchi.

Estimated world litchi production

Post-harvest handlingHarvesting: Indices used to judge maturity Maturity indices:Red color of fruit along with 25mm in diameter fruit sizeReaching the optimum range of sugarLitchi should be harvested fully-ripe because they do not continue to ripen after harvest

Continue.Quality indices:Bright red color with no brown discolorationSweet and juicy aril (edible portion)Soluble solid ; acid ratio of 30 or higherFree from defects and from decayLitchi are excellent source of vitamin C (40 to 90mg/100g fresh weight)

Continue.Harvesting is carried out by removing whole panicles using secateurs , or by cutting or twisting the stem.The clusters are usually clipped with a portion of stem and leaves.Harvest early in the morning or late in afternoon maximizes water content.It should be done every 3-4 days over a period of 3-4 weeks.Cherry picker and elevated picking platform, along with ladders are generally used for harvesting.

Sorting & GradingProduct quality is maintained by removing damaged and inferior fruit during sorting


Grading separated fruits into different grades to suit different markets.It depend on market requirements, but are normally based on fruit size and color.The damaged , sun-burnt and cracked fruits and sorted out.



domestic markets litchi is usually packed in small bamboo baskets or wooden crates.These are lined with litchi leaves or other soft packing material as paper shavings, wood-wool, etc.Proper packing of fruits is important in maintaining freshness and quality and preventing fruit decay during transit for marketing to distant places


A good box for packing fruits should be light in weight ,shallow and rigid enough to protect the fruitsIt should have few holes for ventilation and rope handles on either side for lifting the box. Fruits are packed in clusters along with few leaves


Effect of packages (after 6 days)


The fruits cannot be stored at room temperature for more than a few days. It loses its bright red color 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%

Controlled atmosphere considerations

An atmosphere of 3 to 5% O2 + 5% CO2 is recommended at 5 to 7C .Rate of etylene should be less than 0.5 l/kghr at 20C (68F).Ethylene may accelerate deterioration of lychee fruits (aril breakdown and increased decay.Benefits include reduced skin browning and polyphenoloxidase activity and slower rates of losses of ascorbic acid, acidity, and soluble solids.Exposure to oxygen levels below 1% and/or carbon dioxide levels above 15% may induce off-flavors and dull gray appearance of the pulp.


The fruit along with twigs is packed and transported by truck to the wholesalers and retailers of the nearest towns.

During transit care should be taken to avoid crushing of fruits and damage of the skin.

Litchi being a highly perishable fruit, its marketing should be done as early as possible.

Cool chain

Cool chain is essential during the transport of export quality commodity all the way from the farm to the customer.

This helps in maintaining the temperature inside the box at the same low level as in the cold storage.

CONTINUE..The various stages of the cool chain are: Cold store at the farm. Refrigerated truck from farm to the airport Cold store at the airport. Building up of the pallet in a cold store at the airport. Loading the aircrafts directly from the cold store in a short time. Cargo aircraft maintains cold store temperature in hold. Off loading direct into a cold store in the receiving country. Refrigerated truck to the customers.


Processing of lychee is done in different forms. Canning of pulp, aseptic packing and ready to serve lychee juice are common.

Dried lychee processing is not in practice. Pulp of lychee is aseptically packed and stored at 2-3C for preparing lychee juice

MARKETINGA substantial amount of lychee produced in the country is consumed locally.

Lychee, being highly perishable, is available for very short duration. Marketing of fruits is done in different forms. Growers rent their orchards to contractors, who in turn harvest and sell to local markets.

Insect pest of litchiLitchi moth

Litchi stink bug

Nut borer

Mediterranean fruit fly

Shot hole borer

disordersPHYSIOLOGICAL & PHYSICAL DISORDERERSPericarp Browning. : Water loss (desiccation) of lychees results in brown spots on the bright-red shell (pericarp). Under severe conditions or prolonged exposure, the spots enlarge and coalesce until the surface is completely brown. The flavor of the arils within browned fruit may or may not be adversely affected. Packaging in polymeric films reduces water loss and browning severity.Chilling injury. Symptoms include pericarp browning (similar to that caused by water loss) and increased susceptibility to decay. Storage at 1C (34F) for 12 days before transfer to 20C (68F) for one day resulted in pericarp browning.

Pericarp split (cracking). Incidence and severity of cracking depend on cultivar and desiccation during storage. Cracks provide an entry way for decay-causing pathogens.

Aril breakdown. Prolonged storage and overmaturity may cause aril breakdown (softening, loss of turgidity, translucency) and loss of flavor beginning at the blossom end and spreading to the stem end.

PATHOLOGICAL DISORDERSDecay-inducing pathogens include Alternaria sp., Aspergillus sp., Botryodiplodia sp., Colletotrichum sp. and various yeasts.

Decay control can be achieved by reducing physical injuries to fruits and by prompt cooling and maintenance of the optimum temperature and relative humidity during lychee marketing.

Other decay control treatments under consideration include use of a 10-15% CO2-enriched atmosphere and biological control.

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