Postharvest changes in weight loss and quality of cactus pear fruit undergoing reproductive bud thinning
Keywords:Opuntia spp., flesh firmness, pulp and peel weights, total soluble solids, dry matter concentration.
Fruit is a biological material that starts deteriorating after harvest. The extent of deterioration depends on the fruit itself, but can be modified by pre–harvest management such as reproductive bud thinning (RBT). This research evaluated the effect of two methods of RBT on some fruit quality attributes of ‘Cristalina’ (Opuntia albicarpa) and ‘Rojo Liso’ (Opuntia ficus–indica) cvs. of cactus pear at harvest and after four weeks storage at room temperature. Two RBT experiments were conducted in 2004. In the first experiment, treatments were: no thinning (control) or retaining four, eight or twelve reproductive buds (RB) per mature cladode. In the second experiment, treatments were: no thinning (control, C), thinning every other bud (T1), or thinning two out of every three buds (T2) along the cladode. In the first experiment, at harvest or after storage, pulp–to–peel ratio was lower in ‘Cristalina’ when four RBs per cladode were retained compared with the other treatments. Total soluble solids concentration (TSSC) of ‘Rojo Liso’ fruit was the highest after storage when four RBs per cladode were kept. In the second experiment, fruit quality of ‘Cristalina’ was not modified by either RBT treatment. The highest TSSC was observed in T2 for ‘Rojo Liso’. Fruit weight loss was ca 30% higher in ‘Cristalina’ than ‘Rojo Liso’ in both experiments. The maintenance of fruit quality for longer storage periods is possible through RBT, in particular for ‘Rojo Liso’.