Dr. Paul Cronjè
Mrs. Jade North, Mr. Vivian White, Ms. Johanè Niemann, Dr. Tarl Berry
Rind conditions are an important research programme of CRI, as physiological disorders occurring in the market place have a severely negative financial impact as losses, or opportunity costs downstream, of packing are finically very important. Susceptibility of fruit to a particular disorder is an integration of the pre-harvest fruit development conditions in addition to the postharvest handling and ambient environment in the cold chain. These multiple facets, which influence the rind conditions and it’s susceptibility to a disorder, makes finding of solutions difficult and dependant on long term research projects. The main focus areas in this programme are firstly to identify the contribution of various growing conditions and new technologies used in the orchard, such as plant growth regulators and shade netting, for its impact on rind quality. The second part of this program focuses on testing new postharvest technologies and practises, which could be used to prevent or reduce the incidence of disorders. This could involve temperature management, wax type and application as well as strategies to classify fruit in the packline in sensitivity categories in order to reduce the incidence of postharvest disorders.
Another aim of this programme is to develop improved handling options in the cold chain to ensure the supply of high-quality fruit in all markets. A focus area is the improved use of refrigerated containers and specifically to cold treatment markets. This programme analyses those factors influential in the cooling of fruit, e.g. carton design and forced air cooling facilities, as well as maintaining fruit at the desired temperature during export without resulting in the deterioration of the fruit rind.