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Sapotes (Sapodilla, Mamey Sapote)

Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality


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

Maturity & Quality

Maturity Indices

Skin color change from light-brown with a tinge of green to light-brown to dark-brown.

Flesh color change from green to pinkish brown to reddish brown in mamey sapote (can be examined through a small scratch on the surface).

Quality Indices

  • Appearance: size, shape, color, freedom from defects, and freedom from decay
  • Firmness (firm-ripe sapotes are preferred)
  • Flavor is related to soluble solids content (13-26%) and acidity (0.2-0.3%)

Maturity & Quality Photos

Title: Mamey Sapote Cultivar

Photo Credit: Adel Kader, UC Davis 

Title: Sapodilla Cultivar

Photo Credit: Adel Kader, UC Davis

Temperature & Controlled Atmosphere

Optimum Temperature

14°C ± 1°C (58°F ± 2°F); storage potential is 2-4 weeks (depending on cultivar and and ripeness stage).

Optimum Relative Humidity

90-95%; packaging in perforated plastic bags or box liners reduces water loss at lower relative humidities.

Rates of Respiration

Climacteric respiratory pattern; peak range = 25-35ml CO2/kg·hr at 20°C (68°F).
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

Peak range at 20°C (68°F) = 2-4 µl/kg·hr 

Responses to Ethylene

Exposure of mature sapodilla and mamey sapote fruits to 100 ppm ethylene for 24 hours at 20°C (68°F) hastens their ripening. Removal of ethylene from the storage environment delays deterioration.

Responses to Controlled Atmospheres (CA)

Storage in 5-10% CO2-enriched atmospheres delays ripening. Higher CO2 concentrations may damage the appearance and taste of sapotes.


Physiological and Physical Disorders

Chilling Injury. Exposure to temperatures below 5°C (41°F) for more than 10 days causes chilling injury as indicated by dark-brown spots on the peel, failure to ripen, off-flavor development, and increased decay incidence after transfer to higher temperatures.

Pathological Disorders

Anthracnose. Anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides can be a serious problem in humid production areas. Effective preharvest control strategies reduce postharvest lesion development.


November 1999

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).

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