Friday, January 05, 2024

Chill Injury in Produce

Ironically, the refrigeration of numerous fruits and vegetables can compromise their quality, potentially accelerating their deterioration. This phenomenon, known as postharvest chilling injury, significantly affects produce from tropical and subtropical regions, resulting in economic losses and postharvest waste. Plants from tropical or subtropical climates are especially susceptible, exhibiting symptoms such as purple or reddish discoloration and wilting in leaves affected by chilling.

Certain fruits and vegetables, such as peaches, bananas, mangoes, and zucchini, lack resistance to chilling injury. Prolonged storage at low temperatures can visibly display symptoms of chilling injury in these items, including surface lesions, internal discoloration, tissue water soaking, abnormal ripening, and increased susceptibility to decay organisms like Alternaria. The maturity of crops at harvest also plays a role in the susceptibility to chilling injury in products like tomatoes, honeydew melons, and peppers, leading to significant economic losses.

Low temperatures can cause two types of injury in vegetables. Chilling injury occurs in susceptible species at temperatures above freezing but below a critical threshold, while freezing injury involves the formation of ice crystals within the tissue. Some species have a greater likelihood of recovering from freezing and thawing compared to others.
Chill Injury in Produce

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