A laboratory experiment was carried out to determine the effects of harvesting stages (0, 25, 50, 75 and 100% fruit colourations) and storage durations (0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 weeks) on physicochemical quality and shelf life of sweet pepper varieties (Telmo-Red and Velez-Yellow) under passive refrigeration system (PRS). The aim of the study was to identify the optimum stage of maturity at harvest and storage period under PRS that can ensure better quality and longer shelf life of two greenhouse sweet pepper varieties. The experiment was arranged in 2 x 5 x 5 factorial combinations in complete randomized design (CRD) with three replications. Thirty (30) fruits of sweet pepper were packed in card-board boxes for each treatment and stored under PRS optimum storage conditions. Fruits were assessed for weight loss percentage, fruit firmness, total soluble solids, titratable acidity, postharvest decay percentage and shelf life. Total soluble solids were increased; whereas fruit firmness decreased with increasing harvesting stages. Weight loss percentage, postharvest decay percentage and shelf life increased; while fruit firmness decreased with increasing storage periods. Telmo variety showed significantly better postharvest quality and storability potential than Velez variety.
Key words: Harvesting stage, postharvest, passive refrigeration system, sweet bell pepper.
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