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Cooperative Extension Service/The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Postharvest Handling and Transportation Of Fruits and Vegetables


George E. Boyhan, Horticulture; William C. Hurst, Food Science and Technology W. Terry Kelley, Gerard W. Krewer and Kathryn C. Taylor, Horticulture
is one of the main fruit and ducing states in the eastern United States, with Georgiagoing throughout the easternvegetable proshipments United States and Canada. Growers and handlers must be aware of issues concerning the shelf life and shipping requirements of produce to ensure quality and minimize loss. Temperature, humidity and ethylene production affect internal quality, the tendency of fruit to rot, and dehydration. Some products will generate ethylene, potentially damaging other products in the same load. So load compatibility is an important consideration when shipping produce. Many of the products listed in Table 2 (page 3) are not grown in Georgia but may be part of a load if the trucking company handles shipments from different areas. In addition, Groups 1 and 2 have the same environmental conditions but are listed separately because they have storage incompatibility concerning ethylene. Many commodities may be handled differently than suggested in this publication. For example, onions may be handled differently because of onion type or level of maturity. Shallots may be top iced, causing higher relative humidity, then listed in Group 3. For a more complete description of storage conditions for a particular commodity, consult the USDA publication The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery Stocks.

Sources
Barton, K. (ed.) 2003. The Packer Source Book 2003. Lenexa, Kansas: Vance Publishing Corp. Gross, K.C., C.Y. Wang, and M. Saltveit (eds.) 2002. The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery Stocks. USDA Handbook No. 66. (draft copy). McGregor, B.M. 1989. Tropical Productions Transport Handbook. USDA Handbook No. 668. Mitchell, F.G., R. Guillou, and R.A. Parsons. 1972. Commercial Cooling of Fruits and Vegetables. University of California. Man. 43.

Table 1. Postharvest shelf life, optimum temperature, humidity and top ice requirements.
Item Apples Artichokes Beans, Snap Beans, Lima Beans, Pole Blackberries Blueberries Broccoli Cabbage Cantaloupe Shelf Life (days) 90-240 10-16 7-14 7-14 7-14 7-14 10-21 10-14 90-180 10-14 Optimum Temperature (degrees F) 32-34 33-38 40-45 37-41 37-41 32 32 32 32 35-40 Relative Humidity (%) 90-95 95-100 95 95 95 90-95 90-95 95-100 98-100 90 Top or Package Ice No Yes No No No No No Yes Yes No

Table 1 (continued)
Item Carrots, topped Cauliflower Chinese Cabbage Corn, Sweet Cucumbers Cucumbers, seedless Daikon Eggplant Elephant Garlic Endive/Escarole Figs Garlic Grapes, Bunch Grapes, Muscadine Honeydew* Kale Kiwifruit Leeks Lettuce Melons, mixed Mushrooms Okra Onions, Dry Bulb Onions, Green Peaches Pears, Asian Pears, European Peas, English Peppers, Bell Peppers, Hot Persimmon Plums Potatoes, Early Potatoes, Late Pumpkins Quince Radicchio Radish Romaine Shelf Life (days) 28-180 14-21 60-90 4-10 10-14 10-14 120 10-14 90-210 14-21 7-10 90-210 56-180 7-21 14-21 10-14 90-150 60-90 14-21 14-21 5-7 7-10 30-180 7-10 14-28 150-180 60-90 7-10 14-21 14-21 35-84 14-28 10-14 56-140 84-160 60-90 14-21 10-21 14-21 Optimum Temperature (degrees F) 32 32 32 34-38 45-50 50-55 32-34 46-54 32-34 32 32 32-34 32 32 45-50 34-36 32 32 34-36 50 34-38 43-45 32 32 31-32 34 32 32-35 45-50 38-44 48-50 32 45-50 45-50 50-60 31-32 32-34 32 32 Relative Humidity (%) 98-100 90-98 95-100 85-90 90-95 85-90 95-100 90-95 65-75 90-95 90-95 65-75 95 95 90-95 95-100 90-95 95-100 98-100 90-95 85-90 85-95 65-70 95-100 90-95 90-95 90-95 85-95 85-90 60-70 90-95 90-95 90 90 50-75 90 95-100 95-100 95 Top or Package Ice Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes No No Yes No No No No No Yes No Yes Yes No No No No Yes No No No Yes No No No No No No No No No Yes Yes

Table 1 (continued)
Item Rutabagas Satsumas Shallots Spinach Squash, Summer Squash, Winter Strawberries Sweetpotato Tomato, mature-green Tomato, pink Tomatillos Turnip greens Turnip roots Watermelon
*Treated with ethylene.

Shelf Life (days) 120-180 56-84 180-240 10-14 7-14 30-180 7-14 120-210 21-28 4-7 21 10-14 120 14-21

Optimum Temperature (degrees F) 32 37-39 32 32 41-50 50-55 32 55-60 62-68 62-68 55-60 34-36 32 50-60

Relative Humidity (%) 98-100 85-90 95-100 95-100 95 70-75 95 85-90 85-88 85-88 85-90 95-100 90-95 90

Top or Package Ice No No Yes No No No No No No No No Yes No No

Table 2. Produce load compatibility.


Group 1. Temperature 32-36 degrees F, Relative Humidity 90-95%* Apples Apricots Asian Pears Beets, topped Berriesa Cashew apples Cherries Coconuts Figsb Grapesc Horseradish Kohlrabi Leeks Longans Loquats Lychees Mushrooms Nectarines Orangesd Parsnips Peaches Pears Persimmons Plums Pomegranates Prunes Quinces Radishes Rutabagas Turnips

Group 2. Temperature 32-36 degrees F, Relative Humidity 90-95% Amaranth Anise Artichokes Bean sprouts Beets Belgian endive Berriesa Bok choy Broccoli Brussel sprouts Cabbage Carrots Cauliflower Celeriac Celery Cherries Corn Daikon Endive Escarole Grapesc Green onionsf Greens Horseradish Jerusalem artichoke Kiwifruit Kohlrabi Leekse Lettuce Lo bok Mushrooms Parsley Parsnips Peas Pomegranates Radicchio Radishes Rhubarb Rutabagas Scorzonera Salsify Snow peas Spinach Turnips Water chestnuts Watercress

Table 2 (continued)
Group 3. Temperature 32-36 degrees F, Relative Humidity 65-75%g Garlic Onions Shallots

Group 4. Temperature 40 degrees F, Relative Humidity 90-95% Cactus pears Caimito Cantaloupe Cassavas Clementines Cranberries Kumquats Lemons Lychees Mandarinsd Orangesd Pepino melons Tamarillos Tangelosd Tangerinesd Uniq fruitd

Group 5. Temperature 50 degrees F, Relative Humidity 90-95%h Beans Calamondin Chayotes Cucumbers Eggplant Haricot vert Kiwanos Malangas Okra Peppers Potatoes Pummelos Squash Tamarindos Taro root

Group 6. Temperature 55-60 degrees F, Relative Humidity 85-90%h Atemoyas Avocados Babaco Bananas Bitter melons Black sapotes Boniato Breadfruit Canistel Carambolas Cherimoyas Coconuts Feijoas Ginger root Granadillas Grapefruit Guavas Jaboticabas Jackfruit Langsat Lemonsd Limesd Mamey sapote Mangoes Mongosteen Melonsi Papayas Passion fruit Pineapple Plantains Potatoes, new Pumpkins Rambutan Santol Soursop Sugar apples Tomatillos Tomatoes, ripe Winter squash

Group 7. Temperature 65-70 degrees F, Relative Humidity 85-90% Jicama Pears (for ripening) Sweetpotatoj Tomatoes, mature-green Watermelonj White sapote

* Items in this group can produce high levels of ethylene that can be detrimental to items in Group 2. a Except cranberries. b Not with apples. c No sulfur dioxide. d Citrus treated with biphenyl may develop odors that other produce can absorb. e Not with figs or grapes. f Not with grapes, figs, mushrooms, rhubarb or corn. g High moisture will damage these items. h Sensitive to chilling injury. i Except cantaloupes. j Not with pears or tomatoes.
The University of Georgia and Ft. Valley State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and counties of the state cooperating. The Cooperative Extension Service, the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences offers educational programs, assistance and materials to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. An Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Organization Committed to a Diverse Work Force Fact Sheet 100 January, 2004

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Gale A. Buchanan, Dean and Director