Vegetables Produce Facts English
Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality
Maturity & Quality
Sprouts, plant seedlings consumed shortly after germination, are produced from many vegetable and agronomic plant seeds. Harvest maturity is highly regulated by germination (sprouting) conditions. The desired sprout length is the primary maturity index and harvesting is done at a relatively fixed number of days following radicle (root) emergence. Depending on seed type, harvest generally occurs 3 to 8 days after germination (Ex. alfalfa and sunflower, respectively). Examples of typical desired sprout lengths are given below:
Sprouts should be clean, brightly colored for the type and free of damage, debris and decay. Bean sprouts should be etiolated (lacking noticeable green chlorophyll) with white root tips ( none to very limited browning). Sprouts are typically harvested and washed free of seed coats and non-germinated seed. If germinated in a solid medium rather than in hydroponic culture, sprouts are thoroughly washed to remove adhering materials.
Temperature & Controlled Atmosphere
Rapid cooling is essential to achieve the full storage potential of seed sprouts. Under these conditions most sprouts may be expected to maintain acceptable quality for 5 to 9 days. Shelf-life at 2.5°C (36°F) is less than 5 days, at 5°C (41°F), and at 10°C (50°F) is less than 2 days. The high respiration rates and perishable nature demand distribution and short-term storage at 0°C (32°F). Although industry experiences with Mung Bean suggest the potential for damage, no symptoms of chilling injury have been unequivocally linked to this temperature regime.
Mung Bean Sprouts:
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.
Responses to Ethylene
Low to medium sensitivity. Ethylene effects are not considered to be a significant factor in the optimal handling and distribution regimes for sprouts.
Packing sprouts in plastic "clamshells" with limited venting or in perforated film pouches helps maintain quality. One report on mung bean sprouts (CA) demonstrated that 5% O2 + 15% CO2 extended keeping quality.
Physiological and Physical Disorders
Use of Materials
The UC Postharvest Technology Center grants users permission to download textual pages (including PDF files) from this World Wide Web site for personal use or to reproduce them for educational purposes, but credit lines and copyright notices within the pages must not be removed or modified.
Except for these specified uses, no part of the textual materials available on the UC Postharvest Technology Center Web site may be copied, downloaded, stored in a retrieval system, further transmitted or otherwise reproduced, stored, disseminated, transferred or used, in any form or by any means, except as permitted herein or with the University of California's prior written agreement. Request permission from UC Postharvest Technology Center. Distribution for commercial purposes is prohibited.
The information in this fact sheet represents our best understanding of the current state of knowledge at the time of the latest update, and does not represent an exhaustive review of all research results. Links to any of these UC Postharvest Technology Center pages are permitted, but no endorsement of the linking site or products mentioned in the linking page is intended or implied by such a link.
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.