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  1. Pre-harvest Management – Pre-harvest management are applied under field condition which plays an import role for the shelf life of the produce i.e. fertigation, soil management, water management, pests & disease management, and weed control.  Hence, it is necessary to collect the information on the above-mentioned practices implemented at farm.

The pre-harvest practices are subjected to the following provisions:

i)                    Whole crown.

ii)                  The crown should be free of dead or dried leaves.

iii)                Healthy produce generally affected by rotting or deterioration to make the fruit unfit for consumption.

iv)                Fruits should be clean, practically free from any visible foreign matter.

v)                  Fruits should be free from internal browning.

vi)                Fruits should be free from damage caused by pests.

vii)              Free from pronounced blemishes.

viii)            Free from damage caused by low / higher temp. in field conditions.

ix)                Free from external moisture, excluding condensation following removal from cold storage.

x)                  When a peduncle is present, it shall not be longer than two centimeters and the cut must be transferred straight & clean.

  1. Maturity of the Fruit – The fruit must be chemically ripe i.e. without evidence of unripeness (opaque, flavourless, exceedingly pours flesh) or over ripeness (exceedingly translucent or fermented flesh).  Harvesting of pineapple can be started when fruit has started turn in colour i.e. base of fruit has just coloured, earliest a fruit of pineapple can be harvested is when 1/8th surface of the (bottom side) has become coloured.  Therefore, different stages at which fruits are harvested are:

i)                    1/8th surface coloured.

ii)                  1/4th surface coloured

iii)                1/3rd surface coloured

iv)                1/2 surface coloured

v)                  2/3rd surface coloured

vi)                Fully coloured 

However, for export purposes one has to harvest between 1/8th surface colored to 1/4th surface colored depending upon the time it will take to reach destination during which time the color development also takes place.  However, do not harvest before the fruit turn in colour stage.  In the international trade fruit maturity index is measure as below: 

i)                    M0             -           Raw fruit

ii)                  M1             -           1/8th turn colour stage

iii)                M2             -           1/2 turn colour stage

iv)                M3             -           Fully color turn stage 

Moreover, the minimum T.SS should be 12.0 to 13.0 B in the world market.  This T.SS in the fruit are attained if the fruits are harvested earliest only when the fruit has just started turn colour. 

  1. Tests are required / Carried out – Certain tests are necessary at the field level while selecting the fruits for harvesting.  The test are equipment required are given below:

i)                    T.S.S.                    -           Refractrometer

ii)                  Firmness of fruit   -              Pentameter

iii)                pH                         -           pH meter

iv)                Pulp temp              -            Probe thermometer

v)                  Weight                  -            Weighing scale

vi)                Size                       -           Plastic rings of different size 

  1. Special considerations

i)                    The fruit should be free of blemishes, bruises, sunscald, black rot, internal browning, mealy bug, mite, thrips and scale insects etc.

ii)                  The stem end must cut smoothly and should not be more than 2.0 cm.

iii)                The preference should be given to uniformity in color, weight, size and homogenous variety. 

  1. Harvesting

i)                    It should be carried out preferably in the early hours of the morning or late afternoon when the temperature is low.

ii)                  Harvesting should not be performed after rains, till complete removal of moisture from the fruits.  If necessary or unavoidable, then fruit should be subjected to compulsory high-speed air-drying.

iii)                Fruits should not bruise during harvesting.

iv)                Do not put the fruit on the ground, harvested fruits should be put in crates on plastic baskets having cushioning of papers.

v)                  Use a sharp knife for harvesting, giving a smooth cut, the stem end should not be more than 2.0 cm long. 

vi)                After harvesting fruit should be kept in shade.  Every care needs to be taken that crown leaves are not damaged or crown is not twisted.  

  1. Transportation of fruits from field to Packhouse

i)                    Transport the fruits immediately to Packhouse without any loss of time.

ii)                  Transport should be available on demand at the time of harvest so that there is no time gap between harvesting and transportation of pineapple

iii)                As far as possible there should not be any jerks or bumps during transportation to avoid any bruises to the fruits.

iv)                The vehicle should be clean to avoid any infection to the fruits.

v)                  Preferably no other product should be transported along with pineapples. 

  1. Processing of material at Packhouse

i)                    The material received and kept at 23-25 ˚C temperature in Packhouse.

ii)                  Cutting the stem end / Peduncle and sorting – First action should be cut the stem end smoothly, if not done properly as suggested above that it should not be more than 2.0 cm long.  Long end will bruise the other fruits.  During this operation no damage should be caused to the fruits. Before use of the sharp knife, this should be disinfected with 0.1% Sodium Hydrochloride solution quite frequently. 

8.      Sorting:  All the fruits should be sorted out having sunspot or sunscald or having damaged crowns, or having multiple fasciated fruits. Fruit having infestation of mealy bug, mite, thrips, scale insects and diseased one should be sorted out. The deformed fruit shape and twisted crowns etc. should be sorted out. More over even under sized/oversized /immature fruits or damaged one should be rejected at this stage. 

9.      Washing of the fruits: After trimming, cutting the stem and sorting etc., the fruit are subjected to clean soft water washing. If fruit are quite dirty, then in washing water a disinfectant like sodium hypochlorite needs to be added @ 100-200 ppm. Chlorine in the water solution. After chlorine disinfection rinsing with clean water is absolutely essential. It is desired that no hard water with heavy minerals/metals or contaminated with chemicals used for washing of the fruit at any stage. 

10.  Hot water treatments: The fruit should be subjected to 53.˚C temp for 5-7 minutes Hot water treatment to kill the mealybug, scale insects thrips, mites and prevent  from storage rots. 

11.  Fungicidal treatment: Usually 1000 ppm thibendazole or Bevistin are applied for disinfected the fruits from pathogens associated at pre-harvest stage with fruits. The fruit should be dipped for 3-5 minutes depending upon the size of the fruit. 

12.  Air Drying: Before taking the wax treatment it is essential that fruit should be subjected to air-drying to eliminate the excess of water adhering to the shell of the fruits. 

13.  Waxing: It should be carried out with edible wax solution e.g. starfresh wax 45/ having Thiabendazole @1000 ppm is quit suitable.  Correct and effective fungicidal and wax treatment is absolutely essential otherwise it can result into heavy post harvest loses. 

14.  Packaging: Pineapple are packed along with crowns for prolong shelf life and to avoid infection at the crowns attachment point. These are two methods are used i.e. Horizontal packing and vertical packing keeping the cream on the topside. 

15.  Coding and labeling: Each carton should be coded for date of packing, product & growers code for tracing the products origin etc. The boxes should be corrugated and required strength as advice by the Indian Institute of Packaging, Mumbai and box should contain the following information: 

(i)                 Name of the Product

(ii)               Variety

(iii)             Grade/ class

(iv)             Origin of produce

(v)               Date of packing

(vi)             Name of Exporter

(vii)           Grass weight/ Net Weight

(viii)         Number of fruit per box

(ix)             Maturity stage (At the time of packing)

(x)               Recommended storage temp & R.H. 

16. Pre-cooling:    Pineapple are very sensitive to temperature. The fruit defending upon mode of transport should be cooled as soon as possible at least with in 10 hours of harvest.           

            Pre-cooling temp: 1/8th mature fruit – 13-15 ˚C for 6 to 8 hours. Depending upon the size of fruits when pulp center temp obtained about 13-13.5 ˚C tmp. 

17.   Reefer cold storage / Transportation by reefer container: The fruit should be stored at 12.˚C at 85%R.H.  When the fruit pulp temp attain 12-12.5 ˚C temp and RH 85% may be transported to short distances (Journey period up to 10 days) 8-10 days for consumption.

18  Steps have to followed for Export of Pineapples 

·         Harvesting – 1/8th fruit turned color.

·         Harvesting timing – Early morning or late afternoon (Temp 25-30 ˚C)

·         Storing material after harvest in field under shade condition and put the product in plastic crates.

·         Transportation in to packhouse.

·         Receipt the produce & record of the pre-harvest management

·         Trimming / cut the stem and at 2.0 cm long with sharp knife

·         Sorting of the fruit

·         Washing of the fruit with soft as portable water

·         Hot water treatment 53.˚C (5-7 minutes)

·         Fungicidal treatment 

·         Air drying

·         Waxing

·         Packing labeling

·         Palletization

·         Pre-cooling (13-15’c for 6-8 hours)

·         Store in reefer condition ( 12-12.5’c) 85% RH 

·         Transportation by Reefer Containers

Post harvest treatment and observation on shelf life of Mauritius Pineapples in CA lab APEDA 

Observation on 16.0˚C Reefer Conditions: The fruits were received uneven size and varying maturity. The organoliptic tests carried out in the lab revealed that fruit were received of higher maturity i.e. TSS index 17˚B where as it desired about 12-13˚B. pH was 3.04 where as desired is 2.5 to 2.8. Fruit pressures was about the discussed firmness i.e. 8-10 Kg/Cm2. Fruit temp was also of desired level – 20-25 ˚C. 

It was observed on 15th day after the harvest that there is no much change in T.S.S. of the fruits and temp. was also at set temp of 16.0 BpH was considerably increased it shows the higher suger break down of the fruits or reduces the shelf life of the products. The 16.0 B reefer temp has drastically changed the pH and taste & flavour of the fruits. 

Reefer Condition, 10-c & R.H. 85%: The observation on 15th days of the trials revealed that pH was increased and T.S.S. was also increased but after words observations revealed that there is no significant change in T.S.S. and up to 19th days the flavour and taste was good & ok. Thus it is recommended that 12.0’c may be treated as protocol for the pineapple Mauritius variety at 85+R.H. for South East & Middle East Countries.  

Pineapple Research Station (PRS, KAU). 2010. Vazhakulam, Muvattupuzha, Ernakulam District, Kerala, India


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Quality People, Infrastructure & Work Culture for Quality Technology, Products & Services. Merit alone counts for quality suitable for the purpose. One has know-how only when it is proven in real life.Copyright © 2010 Pineapple Research Station, Kerala Agricultural University. Best viewed in IE 5.5 or above, 1024x768 screen, scripts enabled. Last modified: 23 Jun 2014. Webmaster: Dr. P. P. Joy, Associate Professor & Head, Pineapple Research Station (Kerala  Agricultural  University), Vazhakulam, Muvattupuzha, Ernakulam District, Kerala, India, PIN-686 670, Tel. & Fax: +91 485 2260832, Cell: +919446010905, E-mail: Constructive comments, suggestions and criticisms are most welcome and please mail to