PINEAPPLE RESEARCH STATION (KERALA AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY), VAZHAKULAM, MUVATTUPUZHA
Pineapple (Ananas comosus)
The pineapple (Ananas comosus: Bromeliaceae) is one of the most popular tropical fruits. The name pineapple in English (or piña in Spanish) comes from the similarity of the fruit to a pinecone. Ananas comes from anana, the Tupi word for the fruit, meaning "excellent fruit". Comosus means tufted and refers to the stem of the fruit.
This fruit is native to southern Brazil and Paraguay where its wild relatives occur. Portuguese had introduced the pineapple to India and Java, and the fruit, delighted with the climate that so closely mirrored its conditions of origin, spread throughout the Far East. The Indians carried it to the West Indies before Columbus arrived. In 1493 Columbus found the fruit on the island of Guadeloupe and carried it back to Spain and it was spread around the world on sailing ships that carried it for protection against scurvy. The Spanish introduced it into the Philippines and may have taken it to Hawaii and Guam early in the 16th Century. The pineapple reached England in 1660 and began to be grown in greenhouses for its fruit around 1720.
The pineapple plant is a herbaceous perennial, 0.75 to 1.5 m high with a spread of 1 to 1.2 m. It is essentially a short, stout stem with a rosette of waxy, strap like leaves. It is mostly grown at low elevations in areas with a temperature range of 15 to 30 ºC. Pineapple is tolerant to drought because of the special water storage cells. They can be grown with a wide range of rainfall from 600-2500 mm/annum, the optimum being 1000-1500 mm. Pineapple can be grown in a wide range of soils, but does not tolerate water logging. It can be grown as a pure crop on plantation scale or as an intercrop in coconut gardens.
The long-pointed leaves are 0.5 – 1.82 m in length, usually needle tipped and generally bearing sharp, up curved spines on the margins. They may be all green or variously striped with red, yellow or ivory down the middle or near the margins. As the stem continues to grow, it acquires at its apex a compact tuft of stiff, short leaves called the crown or top. Occasionally a plant may bear two or more heads instead of the normal one.
At blooming time, the stem elongates and enlarges near the apex and puts forth an inflorescence of small purple or red flowers. The flowers are pollinated by humming-birds, and these flowers usually develop small, hard seeds. Seeds are generally not found in commercially grown pineapple.
The oval to cylindrical-shaped, compound fruit develops from many small fruits fused together. It is both juicy and fleshy with the stem serving as the fibrous core. The tough, waxy rind may be dark green, yellow, orange-yellow or reddish when the fruit is ripe. The flesh ranges from nearly white to yellow. In size the fruits are up to 30 cm long and weigh 0.5 to 4.5 kg or more.
Area, production, productivity
The important pineapple growing countries of the world are the Hawaiian Islands, China, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Taiwan, South Africa, Australia, Puerto Rico and India.
In India, it is grown in Karnataka, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland. It is also cultivated on limited areas in the coastal belt of Tamil Nadu, Goa and Orissa. National level area, production and productivity of pineapple are given below.
India ranked sixth with a share of about 8 % of the world production of pineapples. The total area under pineapple cultivation in India was 89000 hectares with a production of about 1415000 t and productivity 15.9 t/ha during 2010-11. India exports pineapple mainly to Nepal, Maldives, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Oman, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Zambia, Pakistan and Qatar. ‘Kew’ and ‘Mauritius’ are the two varieties of pineapple grown in India. It is grown in Karnataka, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland. It is also cultivated on limited areas in the coastal belt of Tamil Nadu, Goa and Orissa. Though Assam has the largest area under pineapple West Bengal is the largest producer. Karnataka, West Bengal and Bihar are the three states reporting high productivity. Overall, Indian productivity of 15.9 t/ha poorly compares with the world average of 22.58 t/ha.
The statewise area, production and productivity of pineapple in India are presented below. In Kerala, total area under pineapple cultivation is 10200 hectares with a production of about 85500 t and productivity 8.4 t/ha during 2010-11. The major pineapple producing district of Kerala, Ernakulam accounts for more than 60% of the area under pineapple cultivation. In Ernakulam district pineapple cultivation is more concentrated in certain areas of Vazhakulam.
Districtwise Pineapple area (ha), production (t) and productivity (t/ha) in Kerala
Source : Department of Economics and Statistics, Kerala State
Contribution to Diet:
The pineapple fruit has vitamins, minerals, fibre and enzymes that are good for the digestive system and helps in maintaining ideal weight and balanced nutrition. Pineapples are a good source of vitamin C and can be eaten raw or used after cooking. Pineapple has minimal fat and sodium with no-cholesterol. Food value of pineapple is given below.
In international trade, the numerous pineapple cultivars are grouped in four main classes: 'Smooth Cayenne', 'Red Spanish', 'Queen', and 'Abacaxi', despite much variation in the types within each class.
Smooth Cayenne or Cayenne ('Maipuri', 'Kew', 'Sarawak', 'Esmeralda', 'Claire', 'Typhoon', 'Saint Michel'):
Smooth Cayenne is extensively cultivated in Hawaii, Philippines, Australia, South Africa, Puerto Rico, Kenya, Mexico, Cuba and Formosa. The ovoid medium-sized fruit (1.5 to 2.5 kg) of 'Smooth Cayenne' is held on a short and strong peduncle. It ripens progressively, turning yellow from the base to the top, which is reflected in a strong internal maturity gradient too. The flesh is firm, close-textured, juicy and with a pale-yellow to yellow colour at maturity. And average acid range lies between 0.5 and 1.0% and total soluble solids (TSS) between 12° and 16° Brix. The plant is a poor producer of shoots and slips. The production cycle is longer than for most other cultivars. 'Smooth Cayenne' is sensitive to many known pests (fruit borers, mites, symphillids, nematodes) and diseases (mealybug wilt, fusariosis, fruitlet core rot, butt rot), and to internal browning. However, it is considered tolerant to Phytophthora sp. and resistant to fruit collapse, caused by Erwinia chrysanthemi Burkbolder.
Production of quality planting materials
Pineapple is very easy to propagate vegetatively. Suckers arising in the axil of the leaves on the main stem form roots and can be used for propagation. Even the crown of leaves above the fruit and parts of the stem itself can be used. Another method of propagation is by slips, which are the suckers, arising immediately below the fruit. Suckers and slips should be preferred for planting as they come to bearing earlier than the crown and produce larger fruits. Plants from crown bear flowers after 3 to 20 months later than suckers and slips depending on the climatic conditions. Therefore, crowns are not normally used. Suckers should be planted within 2 weeks after removing from the mother plant. The planting material should be selected from healthy disease free plant.
Pineapple propagules in culture medium
Conventionally the average production is 4-5 propagules per year and it takes considerable time to produce enough planting material. Large-scale production of planting material can be achieved by using in vitro micropropagation techniques. A protocol for large-scale multiplication has been established using dormant auxiliary buds from pineapple crowns with a capacity of producing 1000-1200 plants in a year from a single crown. The protocol has been standardized for the establishment of cultures, multiplication, rooting and hardening of the plants in the field. Tissue cultured plants have been field planted at the BARC campus and the Rashtriya Chemicals Fertilizers (RCF) Experimental Field at Alibagh.
Kew is a late-maturing variety and is valued particularly for it's canning quality. Fruit weighs 2-3 kg, and is oblong in shape, slightly tapering towards the crown. Eyes are broad and shallow making fruits more suitable for canning. The fruit is yellow when fully ripe and flesh is light yellow, almost fibreless, and very juicy with 0.6-1.2 % acid, and its TSS content varies from 12-16° Brix.
The package of recommendations for its cultivation is detailed below.
Preparation of the land
Prepare the land for planting by ploughing or digging followed by leveling. Depending on the nature of land, prepare trenches of convenient length and about 90 cm width and 15-30 cm depth. The trenches are to be aligned at a distance of 1.65 m from centre to centre.
Selection and treatment of suckers
Select healthy suckers of uniform size weighing 0.5-1 kg. Keep suckers in open space under shade in a single layer for about 7 days for drying. Strip off a few lower old dried leaves. Allow the suckers to dry and cure for another 7 days. Dip the cured suckers in 1% Bordeaux mixture at the time of planting.
Rake the soil and plant the suckers in double rows at spacing of 70 cm between rows and 30 cm between plants. Limit the depth of planting to 7.5 to 10 cm. Adopt triangular method of planting in each trench so that the plants in two adjacent rows are not opposite to each other (plant population 40400/ha).
Apply compost/ cattle manure at 25 t/ha as basal dressing. Apply fertilizers at the following dosage:
Apply full dose of P2O5 at the time of planting. Nitrogen and K2O may be applied in four splits, during May-June (at planting), August-September, November and May-June (2nd year). In places where rains are scanty during November, N and K2O may be applied in three equal splits - two doses in 1st year (May-June and August-September) and the third in May-June of the second year. After application of fertilizers, cover with soil by scraping the sides of trenches.
During summer months, pineapple should be irrigated wherever possible at 0.6 IW/CPE ratio (5 cm depth of water. It requires five or six irrigations during dry months at an interval of 22 days. Mulching the crop with dry leaves at 6 t/ha will help to conserve moisture.
For effective and economic weed control, use weedicides. Pre-emergent spray with diuron 3 kg or bromacil 2.5 kg in 600 litres of water per hectare completely controls all types of weeds in pineapple plantation. If there is subsequent growth of weeds, herbicide application may be repeated at half the above dose. Spraying should be done when there is adequate moisture in the soil. Avoid periods of heavy rainfall for spraying.
Induction of flowering
During summer months and festival seasons, there is heavy demand for fruit and the prices increases. Hence many farmers schedule the planting, growth regulator application and harvest to synchronize with the season of demand and high price. For inducing uniform flowering at the desired period, apply 25 ppm ethephon (2-chloro ethyl phosphonic acid) in aqueous solution containing 2% urea and 0.04% calcium carbonate as follows:
The mixture (50 ml/plant) is to be applied pouring into the heart of 16-17 month old plants (39-42 leaf stage) during dry weather. For treating 1000 plants, 50 litres of the solution would be required. (The ingredients for preparing 50 litres of the aqueous solution are ethephon 1.25 ml, urea 1 kg and calcium carbonate 20 g, made up to 50 litres with water. The dosage has to be fixed depending on the availability of commercial formulation and the active ingredient contents). Flowering will commence from 40th day after application and complete on the 70th day.
Mauritius is the main variety cultivated in Kerala. This variety is recommended for cultivation for table purposes and distant marketing, due to its shorter duration, better fruit quality, keeping quality and transportability.
Fruits of Mauritius variety are of medium size and are of two types, deep yellow and red skinned. Fruits of yellow variety are oblong, fibrous, and medium sweet compared to red type. The leaves are yellowish green, spiny throughout the margin, crown also is spiny in both the types. It is a mid-season cultivar, ripens in July-August.
The cultivation practice of this variety is described hereunder.
Main season of planting is April-May and August-September, but can also be planted in all months except during heavy rain of June-July. The best time for planting is August. For getting maximum price and better keeping quality, the best planting time is April-May. During summer months, if there are no summer showers after planting, irrigation should be given three weeks after planting for proper establishment.
Mauritius can be grown as a pure crop in garden land, reclaimed lowlands and wetlands and as an intercrop in coconut and newly planted rubber plantations. In rubber plantation, it can be grown for the first 3-4 years only.
Prepare the land by digging the area to be planted at 90 cm width in rows / strips, leaving the interspaces undisturbed. However, ploughing can be adopted in level land. Planting is done in paired rows of 45 cm distance between rows and 30 cm between suckers. Suckers may be planted in triangular method in the paired rows. Interspace between the paired rows is kept at 1.5 m. Contour planting may be adopted in sloppy areas.
Intercropping in coconut garden:
Land preparation, spacing and planting are the same as described above. There can be three-paired rows in between two rows of coconut.
Intercropping in rubber plantations:
System of planting is in paired rows at 45 x 30 cm. There will be only one paired row of pineapple in between two rows of rubber.
Wetlands / lowlands:
Pineapple is highly sensitive to water stagnation and high moisture regimes. Hence it is important to provide good drainage, if grown in wetlands. In paddy lands, pineapple is planted in paired rows at 45 x 30 cm spacing on ridges taken at 60-90 cm height, depending on the water table and drainage requirement. The ridges are separated by drainage channels having 60 cm width. The width of the ridges varies from 1.2-1.5 m. Wherever water stagnation and poor drainage are expected, a wider and deeper channel is given in between ridges
Plant Protection - Kew
No serious pests or diseases are noticed in the crop except for light incidence of leaf spot disease and of the mealy bugs.
Mealybugs (Dysmicoccus sp.) infest commercial pineapple plantings, affecting pineapple production in several ways. The rapid spread of this malady in the field is largely due to the feeding habit of bugs. Symptoms first appear on roots which cease to grow, eventually leading to collapse of tissues. Feeding of Dysmicoccus species on pineapple produces a toxic effect called mealybug stripe, expressed as green or black striped areas. The most predominant symptom is wilting of leaves, commencing from leaf tips. Reddish-yellow colour develops in the wilting areas. Finally the plants rot and develop decaying suckers. Fruits developed are undersized. Ants of several species act as carriers of mealy bugs.
For control of mealy bugs, adopt the following measures: Apply quinalphos at 0.025%, fenitrothion 0.05% or fenthion 0.05%. Destroy grasses and other monocot weeds, which serve as alternate hosts for the pest.
Leaf spot occurs frequently in moist and warm climate. Small water soaked areas developed on leaves, which gradually enlarge. The affected portions become pale yellow in colour and gradually dry up. This disease is caused by Phytophthora spp.
For control of leaf spot, spray with any one of the following fungicides
when symptoms of the disease are noticed:
Plant Protection - Mauritius
This anomaly occurs usually when the pineapple plant leans or falls over exposing one side of the fruit directly to the rays of the sun, thus resulting in long exposure of the peel, and flesh beneath it, to fairly high temperatures.
Affected fruits show a yellowish color in the area exposed to the sun. As the anomaly progresses the yellow area changes to brown and the flesh beneath it becomes more translucent. The peel may crack between the fruitlets, the flesh dries out and becomes spongy. The occurrence of sunburn during early stages of fruit development reduces the growth rate on the area exposed to the sun thus resulting in an asymmetric fruit.
During summer months protection from the scorching sun can be done by putting dried grasses, coconut or arecanut leaves.
Heart rot/root rot:
Heart rot disease of pineapples caused by Phytophthora spp. is characterised by yellow-red coloured leaves that are easily pulled from the plant and white leaf bases that bear a distinct water-soaked grey-brown transverse lesion. The lesion progresses slowly from the base of the leaf to the tip. Rotting pineapple fruit tissue may also smell badly. If the pineapple plants develop root rot, aboveground symptoms include stunting and low yield.
Heart rot caused by Psuedomonas spp. is characterized by yellowing, leaf tip dieback, and tipping of the plant caused by rotting of the growing point.
Pineapple leaf spot occurs frequently in moist and warm climate of parts of India. Initial symptoms are in the form of water soaked lesions on the leaves. The spots later on enlarge in size and gradually dries up.
Providing drainage is most essential for the management of heart rot. The water table should be at least 60 cm below the soil surface. Badly affected plants should be destroyed and the remaining plants should be drenched with 1% Bordeaux mixture in the soil. Leaf spot can be controlled by spraying 1% Bordeaux mixture or 0.2% zineb / mancozeb / ziram.
Mealy bugs (Dysmicoccus brevipes / Pseudococcus bromeliae):
Mealybugs infest commercial pineapple plantings, affecting pineapple production in several ways. The rapid spread of this malady in the field is largely due to the feeding habit of bugs. Symptoms first appear on roots which cease to grow, eventually leading to collapse of tissues. Feeding of Dysmicoccus species on pineapple produces a toxic effect called mealybug stripe, expressed as green or black striped areas. The most predominant symptom is wilting of leaves, commencing from leaf tips. Reddish-yellow colour develops in the wilting areas. Finally the plants rot and develop decaying suckers. Fruits developed are undersized. Ants of several species act as carriers of mealy bugs.
Spray quinalphos 0.025-0.05% or fenitrothion 0.05% or fenthion 0.05% or chlorpyriphos 0.05% or dimethoate 0.05%. Care should be taken that the spray shall reach the base and also the sides of the plant. The plot should be kept weed free. For the control of mealy bugs, control of ants is a must. Hence apply carbaryl to control ants in its colonies in the farm.
The spraying of chemicals for the control of mealy bugs, mentioned above, will be sufficient for the control of scale insects.
Harvesting and Storage
ineapple plants flower 10-12 months after planting and attain harvesting stage 15-18 months after planting, depending on the variety, time of planting, the type and size of plant material used and the prevailing temperature during fruit development. Under natural conditions, pineapple comes to harvest during May- August. With a slight colour change at the base of developing fruit, it could be harvested for canning purpose. But for table purpose, the fruit could be retained till it develops satisfactory golden yellow colour. Harvesting is done with a sharp knife, severing the fruit-stalk with a clean cut retaining 5-7 cm of stalk with the fruit in such a way that the fruit is not damaged.
The stage of maturity at harvest is dependent on the required storage or shelf-life and the method of transportation to the export markets. The level of yellow colouration of the "eyes" of the fruit judges maturity.
Colour stages are categorised as follows:
CS1: all eyes green, no traces of
Sugar content should be assessed in the field prior to harvesting to ensure adequate sugar development. A minimum of 10 % is generally required although this may vary with the market. Sugar content is not always related to the colour stage as agronomic and production factors will affect sugar development. For the export market where sea-shipment for seven to fourteen days is used, fruits should be harvested at CS1, where the fruits show no yellow colour development on the eyes (ensuring that checks have been made on the sugar content). For airfreighted shipments, although generally cost prohibitive, harvesting can be carried out at CS2 to CS3. Those harvested at more advanced stages are more susceptible to mechanical damage and over-ripeness. Fruit maturity can also be assessed on random samples by determination of the flesh condition. This is carried out by slicing the fruit horizontally at the point of largest diameter; in fruit for sea-shipment export; the fruit should show limited development of translucent areas. Where more than half of the area is translucent, the fruit is considered beyond optimum maturity. Pineapples harvested by hand are snapped from the stalk using a downward motion. The fruit should be placed in field crates and while in the field, left in shaded conditions. Collection in the field and field to pack house transport using sacks or bags will cause mechanical damage and increase the level of rejection. On arrival at the packing facility, the stems and the crowns should be trimmed to 2 cm (0.5") and 10 cm (4") respectively. Out grading should be made of all fruits which are undersize, oversize, over-ripe, under-ripe (depending on the market requirements), damaged, bruised or show fungal or insect damage.
Export grading and packing
For reduction of post-harvest disease incidence, the fruit should be treated, by dipping or spraying, with a solution of Dowicide A (sodium 2-phenylphenolate) at a concentration of 7 g per litre of water. Size grading and packing should be carried out immediately after treatment. Pineapples are packed according to the stage of ripeness and the size of the fruit. Fruits in individual cartons should be the same size, resulting in a range of counts.
Accepted counts are as follows:
6 count - 1.75 kg fruit (3.8 lb)
A full-telescopic two-piece fibre-board carton with internal dividers between the fruit; bursting strength 275 lb/in2. Top and bottom ventilation, in addition to side vents are required, particularly where sea-shipments in break bulk are used. Where staples are used in carton construction, care should be taken to ensure complete staples closure to prevent fruit damage. The preferred method of packing is to place the fruit vertically on the base, and then to place dividers between the fruits to prevent rubbing and movement. With some cartons, this is not possible and fruit are laid horizontally in alternating directions; where two layers of fruit are packed, a layer of card is required between the layers. Fruit are normally packed to a net weight of 10 to 15 kg (22 to 33 lb) depending on the carton and the market. High value small pineapples may be shipped in some instances at 6 kg (13 lb), whereas the large fruit in some cases may be packed up to 20 kg (45 lb).
Carton internal dimensions
27 x 48 x 34 cm
(10.6" x 18.9" x 13.4")
Storage and transportation
Where sea-shipment is to be used, the fruit should be harvested on the day prior to shipment. Green fruit should be stored at 10°C, 85 to 95% relative humidity, and under these conditions, should have a storage life of 2-3 weeks. This will be dependent on the sugar content and the agronomic conditions during production, in addition to the handling and storage procedures. Where exports are made by air with fruit harvested at more advanced stages of maturity, pre-export storage can be used and the suitable storage temperature decreases to 7.5 °C, 85 to 95% relative humidity.
Potential post-harvest losses
Losses in pineapples during air-transport are minimal if careful handling is employed. On sea-shipments and long-term storage however, the fruits are more susceptible to post-harvest losses as a result of increased handling, control of temperature and disease incidence.
Bruising or puncturing caused by poor handling, dropping or abrasion, will result in localised areas of softening and development of secondary microbial infection.
Sensitivity to chilling injury is related to the level of ripeness of the fruit. Storage of green fruit (CS 1) should be at 10°C, 85 to 95% relative humidity; storage for extended periods below this temperature will result in chilling injury shown by incomplete colour development, wilting and darkening of the flesh and peel. Pineapples with 25% yellow eyes can be stored for 1-2 weeks at 5° to 7°C; critical temperatures may be dependent on the production area and growing conditions.
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