University of California

Fruit Produce Facts English

Return to Fact Sheet


Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality


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

Maturity & Quality

Maturity Indices

Rambutan fruits are borne in clusters; each fruit has seeds surrounded by an aril (edible portion) which is covered by the pericarp and its hairs or soft spines or spinterns (1-1.5 cm long). Attainment of red color is the main harvest index. A minimum soluble solids content of 16% may also be used; cultivars vary in their maximum soluble solids content from 17 to 21%.

Quality Indices

  • Size, uniform reddish, color, freedom from defects and decay
  • Sweetness is related to sugar content (average is 10% sucrose + 3% fructose + 3% glucose = 16% total)
  • Low acidity (average is 0.36%, mainly citric acid)
  • Good source of Vitamin C (average is 70mg/100g edible portion)
  • Browning, which detracts from visual quality, is directly associated with water loss and physical damage

Maturity & Quality Photos

Title: Maturity

Photo Credit: Adel Kader, UC Davis 

Title: Quality

Photo Credit: Adel Kader, UC Davis

Temperature & Controlled Atmosphere

Optimum Temperature

10-12°C (50-54°F) depending on cultivar (cultivars vary in their chilling sensitivity)

Storage potential = 12-14 days.

Optimum Relative Humidity

90-95%; maintenance of high RH is essential to minimizing water loss and preventing skin darkening (browning).

Rates of Respiration

20-60ml CO2/kg·hr at 25°C (77°F); non-climacteric respiratory pattern.
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

0.1 to 0.7 µl/kg·hr at 25°C (77°F)

Responses to Ethylene

Rambutans are picked ripe and do not benefit from ethylene treatment or ethylene scrubbing during their postharvest handling.

Responses to Controlled Atmospheres (CA)

An atmosphere of 3-5% O2 and 7-12% CO2 reduces respiration rate and retards red color loss and other symptoms of senescence. Postharvest-life potential in CA is 4 weeks (vs. 2 weeks in air).


Physiological and Physical Disorders

Chilling Injury. Symptoms include dark-maroon coloration in some cultivars and bronzing in other cultivars of the skin and spinterns. The minimum temperature - time combination that induces chilling injury varies among cultivars from 5°C (41°F) for >7 days to 7°C (45°F) for >14 days.

Skin Splitting. Skin splitting of thin-skinned cultivars occurs after heavy rains or sudden uptake of water by the fruit during the latter stages of development.

Pathological Disorders

  • In most cases, postharvest-life of rambutans is terminated because of severe browning and other discoloration (resulting from physical damage, water loss, and/or chilling injury) rather than pathological disorders
  • Gliocephalotrichum bulbilium is a major cause of pre- and post-harvest rot. Infection is primarily through injuries including cut stem ends. Symptoms begin as light-brown, water-soaked areas in the rind and pulp which enlarge and become dark-brown to black
  • Stem-end rot, caused by Botryodiplodia theobromae, may affect rambutans in some production areas
  • Control strategies include effective preharvest disease control, careful handling to minimize physical damage, proper sanitation, and good temperature and humidity management

November 2000

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. (Accessed January 18, 2014).

Top of page



Webmaster Email: