Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality
Maturity & Quality
Maturity IndicesJuice content by volume of 30% or higher and color (mature-green limes have a much longer postharvest-life than those picked when yellow; the latter must be marketed soon after harvest).
Color (most consumers in the USA prefer green limes but in some other countries consumers prefer yellow limes because of their greater juice content); size; shape; firmness; smoothness; freedom from decay; and freedom from defects including bruises, oil spotting, dryness, freezing injury, and stylar-end breakdown.
Temperature & Controlled Atmosphere
10-13°C (50-55°F) depending on cultivar, maturity-ripeness stage at harvest, and duration of storage + transport (up to 6-8 weeks).
Optimum Relative Humidity
Rates of Respiration
To calculate heat production multiply ml CO2/kg·hr by 440 to get Btu/ton/day or by 122 to get kcal/metric ton/day.
Rates of Ethylene Production
Responses to Ethylene
Ethylene causes limes to lose their green color and unmask their yellow pigments, which is undesirable for marketing green limes. Removal of ethylene from lime storage facilities can be beneficial in retarding loss of green color and delaying decay incidence.
Responses to Controlled Atmospheres (CA)
A combination of 5-10% O2 and 0-10% CO2 retards senescence (loss of green color) of limes, but is inadequate for decay control. Exposure to >10% CO2 and/ or <5% O2 can result in scald-like injury, decreased juice content, off-flavors, and increased susceptibility to decay. Commercial use of CA on limes is very limited.
Temperature & Controlled Atmosphere Photos
Physiological and Physical Disorders
Chilling injury. Symptoms include pitting, and brown discoloration. Pits Disorders may coalesce and form leathery, brown, sunken areas on the rind. Severity increases with lower temperature below 10°C (50°F) and longer durations of exposure to these temperatures.
Oil spotting (Oleocellosis). Harvesting and handling turgid limes may result in breakage of oil cells in the flavedo and release of the oil that damages surrounding tissues.
Stylar-end Breakdown. This disorder results from rough handling during harvesting and handling. Its severity varies among cultivars and harvest seasons.
Use of Materials
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How to Cite
Author(s) names. Initial publication or update date (located at the top). Title. Link to the specific Produce Fact Sheet webpage (Accessed date)
Example: Cantwell, M. and T. Suslow. 2002. Lettuce, Crisphead: Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality.