Avocado quality monitoring via library tray system (AV08022)
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Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.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?
Achieving high quality fruit out-turn of avocados can be a significant challenge for local and export markets alike. Library tray systems are used in many fruit industries to provide a means of monitoring and improving overall fruit quality. Generally a sample of fruit is taken at an appropriate point in the handling chain (most likely from the packing line) and held in the packhouse or a central location. Fruit quality of the sample is assessed on one or more occasions during storage and/or shelf life. Although such systems have been in widespread use around the world by fruit industries, there is a surprising lack of published information in this area. The library tray system has been used by the New Zealand avocado industry for a number of years and the experience gained in developing this process at an industry level is one of the best resources for information at our ready disposal.
The aim of this project was to determine the potential for use of a library tray system for tracking, and thus potentially improving Australian avocado fruit quality in the local and/or export marketplaces, by carrying out a literature review and survey of international fruit industry practices. An extensive literature search, including all likely web-based sources, was undertaken. Additional information on the topic was obtained by email and discussion with those who responded to a worldwide email of postharvest researchers and commercial personnel.
We have summarised library tray system experience in fruit other than avocado and from international avocado industries, but most detail is provided on the NZ experience since little detailed information is publicly available.
With respect to the library tray system, the report provides a review of:
- Key drivers and aims
- Practices and systems such as sampling, replication, storage conditions, ripening, assessment systems, data processing and reporting
- A statistical perspective on fruit sampling size
- Key issues in relation to industry buy-in, politics and roles of packhouse versus industry staff
- Other systems that could be put in place to maximise efficacy (e.g. in-market out-turn programmes).
Instigation of a library tray system had potential for improving quality of Australian fruit and an appropriate system was urged to be considered by the Australian avocado industry.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the voluntary financial support of the avocado industry.
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