Harvest temperature effects on postharvest avocado quality (AV03005)
This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.
What was it all about?
The Western Australian avocado industry had set high standards for production of Hass avocado and was keen to maintain these standards. Increased production over the previous five years meant that harvesting guidelines at the time, based on production research from other production regions, were putting operational strains on growers. WA avocado growers needed more flexibility in the harvesting parameters under which they could confidently operate without impacting on the quality of the product they supply.
This project set out to determine the impact of high ambient temperatures during harvest and delays in removal of field heat of up to 24 hours after harvest on the quality of Hass avocados at a ready to eat stage. The subsequent research demonstrated that high ambient temperatures during harvest did not, on their own, cause deleterious impacts on the post-harvest quality of Hass avocados grown under Western Australian conditions. The research demonstrated that, provided sound industry practices were followed, fruit could be harvested even at ambient temperatures of 36°C, stored for up to four weeks and remain at a high saleable quality. Such industry practices include fruit to be protected from direct sunlight after harvest, removal of field heat as soon as possible (within 24 hours of harvest) and storage at the appropriate temperature for the intended period of storage.
A leaflet highlighting the suitable harvest conditions and important post-harvest practices had been developed for industry ‘Temperature Guidelines for harvesting and storage of Hass avocados for the south-west of Western Australia’.
During the project, it was highlighted that the practices after harvest were critical to maintenance of high quality avocado. It was therefore essential that growers, distributors, wholesalers, transporters and retailers maintain the required practices. To this end, continuous monitoring and regular evaluation of the product was strongly encouraged.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of Western Australian Avocado Growers Association.
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