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Factors affecting shelf life of fruits

Factors affecting shelf life of fruits: Shelf life is the length of time that fruit may be stored without becoming unfit for use, consumption, or sale.

Factors affecting shelf life of fruits

1) Respiration: The more respiration, the less the shelf life of fruits. Higher respiration leads to Rapid breakdown of carbohydrates to CO2 and H2O and it can be shown as follows C6H12O6+ 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O + ATP 

Respiration rate is affected by the temperature, humidity, supply of O2 and CO2, maturity condition of fruits and it’s water, sugar and other food material content, higher concentration of sugar within the tissues, higher the rate of respiration. Tissue moisture have a direct relationship with the respiration rate.

2) Temperature and relative humidity: Temperature and relative humidity are the most important factors determining shelf life of fruits. If fruits are stored at low temperature and relative humidity, they will deteriorate within a very shortest possible time. Low temperature and high relative humidity increases shelf life of fruits. Both high temperature and high relative humidity are harmful for fruits as they increase respiration rate and also infestation by insect pest and pathogens.

3) Nutrients: Respiration rate increase, if fruits contain more sugar and water and so the fruits spoil very rapidly.

4) Supply of CO2 and O2 : Supply of more O2 increases respiration rate. On the other, supply of CO2 decreases respiration rate.

5) Wounds and bruises: Wounds and bruised fruits show high rate of respiration, as a result this fruits rot quickly and become unfit for consumption.

6) Type, cultivar, and stage of maturity: The shelf life of fruits is dependent on the type, cultivar, and stage of maturity. e.g. Ripe bael can be stored for long period but bananas can be stored only for few days. Fruit coat plays a great role in this respect. Again shelf life may vary depending on the cultivar of the same fruit. e.g. In normal conditions, the shelf life of mango is 2–3 days longer than other fruit.

7) Presence of pathogens and pests: The presence of pathogens has an adverse effect on the shelf life of fruits. In High temperature and high humidity, pathogens infect fruits severely. At high temperature and high humidity, the fruit is unfit for consumption within 2 days by an insect pest. i.e. Fruit borer, cockroach, flies are wounds on the fruits and helps to rot of fruits.

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