University of California

Ask the Produce Docs (General)

Should I avoid shipping citrus and pineapple in the same container?

Category
  • Transportation
Question

It has been suggested to me that it is essential to avoid loading pineapple with citrus fruits in the same shipping container due to allelopathy. Could you please tell me more about allelopathy?

Answer
Allelopathy means that one species has either positive or negative effects on another, but I am not aware of allelopathic interactions among harvested fruits.
 
However, incompatibilities among fruits and vegetables can occur during postharvest transport or storage.   Compatibility of harvested fruits during transport and storage depends on their optimal temperature and relative humidity ranges, ethylene production rates, sensitivity to ethylene action, production of odor-active volatiles that can be absorbed by other commodities, and whether the commodities are conventionally or organically-produced. I am unaware of any reason why pineapples can not be loaded together with citrus fruits except if the citrus fruits have biphenyl-generating pads in their shipping containers since the pineapples will absorb the biphenyl odor. However, inclusion of biphenyl pads in citrus shipments to prevent Penicillium rots is no longer practiced in the US due to “odor” issues associated with their use.
 
Also, if the temperature to be used during transport is outside the optimal range for either the pineapples (8-10C) or the specific citrus fruit (12-14C for grapefruit and lemons;  8-10C for limes; 5-8C for Valencia oranges; 3-5C for mandarins and Navel oranges), mixing may be detrimental to one of the fruits, depending on the duration of transport.
 
–Adel Kader & Mary Lu Arpaia

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