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Avocados respond well to Xtend modified atmosphere packaging
Achieving the desired quality when shipping avocados requires an understanding of the interrelationship between the avocado respiration rate, film permeability, the desired modified atmosphere and modified humidity conditions as well as the importance of good carton design, prompt and efficient cooling and cold chain management thereafter to ensure that the desired conditions can be achieved and maintained.
The importance of temperature management cannot be overemphasized. The packaging represents a barrier to cooling the fruit and maintaining them cold thereafter. Failure to recognize this and correctly manage temperature during the cold chain can result in excessive temperature increase that will offset the modified atmosphere, potentially resulting in unfavorable values that, rather than providing a benefit to the fruit, will result in irreversible damage.
If packaging is correctly designed and protocols are adhered to, then modified atmosphere packaging can provide tremendous benefits: avocadoes can be stored for longer and shipped further afield, essentially enabling customers to expand their markets or extend seasonality. Furthermore, wastage during existing supply chains can also be reduced.
The main advantage of using this approach instead of controlled atmosphere (CA) containers, is that the desired effect can be achieved throughout the supply chain up until ripening, whereas when the CA container is opened upon arrival at its destination, the effect is lost and the countdown begins with very little flexibility in storage after arrival. Furthermore, an acclimatization period is often reported for avocadoes after removal from CA before the fruit can be efficiently ripened.
StePac has two well-established Xtend modified atmosphere/modified humidity (MA/MH) bulk packaging products for avocado, one of which is designed for "long storage", after which the packaging is opened before triggering the ripening process and a "ripen in the bag" solution, which is suitable for shorter storage and transportation periods, but enables ripening of the fruit in the sealed packaging.
This chart shows the reduction of weight loss of un-ripened Hass avocado packed in Xtend 'long storage" MA/MH packaging during storage at 5°C, which will reduce the risk of self-ripening. Furthermore, for fruit that is sold by weight, reduction in weight loss of this magnitude will by itself cover the incremental costs of the packaging and increase profitability.
The same study also examined how storage of the Hass avocadoes in Xtend "long storage" MA/MH packaging delays peel color change. This picture shows the results after 35 and 46 days at 5°C with and without Xtend "long storage" MA/MH packaging highlighting how modified atmosphere/modified humidity inhibits peel color change.
The internal quality of the fruit during subsequent ripening after prolonged storage represents probably the most dramatic difference between Xtend and naked fruit, with considerably less ripening disorders such as gray pulp in Xtend packed fruit than in naked control.
The study also examined the softening of avocadoes to the touch during storage. Each data point is the average ± standard deviation of 8 replicates (20 fruit). Different letters indicate significant difference (p<0.05) between the treatments at the time interval in question.
The packaging also helped the saleability of fruit which at any one time during shelf life can be expected to be higher than in the naked control.
Xtend MA/MH packaging offers several potential benefits for storage and shipment of avocados essentially enabling customers to expand their markets or extend seasonality. Furthermore, wastage during existing supply chains can also be reduced.
For more information:
Juan Carlos Leon, Johnson Matthey
Tel: +52 011 52 1 442 226 4712
Tel: +1 520 247 2783
Publication date: 4/21/2017
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