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Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality


Adel A. Kader
Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis

Maturity & Quality

Maturity Indices

Change of shell color from green to yellow at the base of the fruit. Pineapples are non-climacteric fruits and should be harvested when ready to eat. A minimum soluble solids content of 12% and a maximum acidity of 1% will assure minimum flavor acceptability by most consumers.

Quality Indices

  • Uniformity of size and shape
  • Firmness
  • Freedom from decay
  • Freedom from sunburn, sunscald, cracks, bruising, internal breakdown, endogenous brown spot, gummosis, and insect damage
  • Tops (crown leaves): green color, medium length, and straightness
  • Range of soluble solids = 11-18%; titratable acidity (mainly citric acid) = 0.5-1.6%; and ascorbic acid = 20-65mg/100g fresh weight, depending on cultivar and ripeness stage

Maturity & Quality Photos

Title: Color Chart

Photo Credit: Don Edwards, UC Davis

Title: Cultivars

Photo Credit: Don Edwards, UC Davis

Title: Pineapple Translucency

Photo Credit: Don Edwards, UC Davis

Temperature & Controlled Atmosphere

Optimum Temperature

10-13°C (50-55°F) for partially-ripe pineapples.
7-10°C (45-50°F) for ripe pineapples.

Optimum Relative Humidity


Rates of Respiration Production

Temperature 7°C (45°F) 10°C (50°F) 13°C (55°F) 15°C (59°F) 20°C (68°F)
ml CO2/kg·hr 2-4 3-5 5-8 8-10 15-20

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

Less than 0.2 µl C2H4/kg·hr at 20°C (68°F)

Responses to Ethylene

Exposure of pineapples to ethylene may result in slightly faster degreening (loss of chlorophyll) without influencing internal quality. Pineapples must be picked when ripe because they do not continue to ripen after harvest.

Responses to Controlled Atmospheres (CA)

  • 3-5% O2 and 5-8% CO2
  • Benefits of CA include delayed senescence and reduced respiration rate
  • Postharvest life potential: 2-4 weeks in air and 4-6 weeks in CA 10°C (50°F), depending on cultivar and ripeness stage
  • Exposure to O2 levels below 2% and/or CO2 levels above 10% should be avoided because of the potential for development of off-flavors
  • Waxing may be used to modify O2 and CO2 concentrations within the fruit enough to reduce incidence and severity of endogenous brown spot

Physiological and Physical Disorders

Chilling injury. Exposure of pineapples to temperatures below 7°C (45°F) results in chilling injury. Ripe fruits are less susceptible than unripe or partially-ripe fruits. Symptoms include dull green color when ripened (failure to ripen properly), water-soaked flesh, darkening of the core tissue, increased susceptibility to decay, and wilting and discoloration of crown leaves.

Endogenous Brown Spot (EBS) or Black Heart. EBS is usually associated with exposure of pineapples before or after harvest to chilling temperatures, e.g. below 7°C (45°F) for one week or longer. Symptoms are water-soaked, brown areas that begin as spots in the core area and enlarge to make the entire center brown in severe cases. Waxing is effective in reducing chilling injury symptoms. A heat treatment at 35°C (95°F) for one day has been shown to ameliorate EBS symptoms in pineapples transported at 7°C (45°F) by inhibiting activity of polyphenol oxidase and consequently tissue browning.

Pathological Disorders

Thielaviopsis rot (black rot, water blister). Caused by Thielaviopsis paradoxa, may start at the stem and advance through most of the flesh with the only external symptom being slight skin darkening due to watersoaking of the skin over rotted portions of the flesh. As the flesh softens, the skin above readily breaks under slight pressure.

Yeast fermentation. Caused by Saccharomyces spp, is usually associated with overripe fruit. The yeast enters the fruit through wounds. Fruit flesh becomes soft and bright yellow and is ruptured by large gas cavities.

Control Strategies

  1. Careful handling to minimize mechanical injuries
  2. Prompt cooling and maintenance of optimum temperature and relative humidity throughout postharvest handling operations
  3. Application of fungicides, such as thiabendazole (TBZ)

Disorders Photos

Title: Brown Spot

Photo Credit: Don Edwards, UC Davis

Title: Chilling Injury

Photo Credit: Don Edwards, UC Davis

Title: Fruitlet Core Rot

Photo Credit: Don Edwards, UC Davis

Title: Water Blister (1)

Photo Credit: Don Edwards, UC Davis

Title: Water Blister (2)

Photo Credit: Don Edwards, UC Davis

Title: Water Blister (3)

Photo Credit: Don Edwards, UC Davis

Title: Yeast Fermentation (1)

Photo Credit: Don Edwards, UC Davis

Title: Yeast Fermentation (2)

Photo Credit: Don Edwards, UC Davis


November 1996

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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. (Accessed January 18, 2014).

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