Plantain (Musa sp., genome AAB) is a major locally grown starchy staple food highly consumed by Ghanaians with a per capita consumption of 84.4 kg. However, the maturity index of the fruit has been dependent on various characteristics including angularity, fruit tip drying, etc. A physiological study was conducted on the fruit characteristics of Apantu at harvest to determine the appropriate maturity index to be used by smallholders. The results were subjected to correlative analysis and revealed a strong positive correlation between age at harvest and pulp to peel ratio. The number of leaves declined with age while pulp to peel ratio, bunch weight, peel weight and fruit weight showed positive correlation with age. The low correlations observed between the age at harvest and peel thickness, peel weight, density of fruit and pulp thickness makes them unreliable indices, possibly due to the difference in environmental conditions. Generally this is true since smallholders rely upon rainfed irrigation and physiological characteristics are greatly influenced by the watering component of the environmental. It is therefore recommended that farmers use bunch ages to determine harvest maturity. This could be done through tagging of plants at flower emergence due to the strong correlation it had with pulp:peel ratio. Further testing on each variety is needed to make tangible conclusions on some of the maturity indices to be adopted or must be backed with other variables.
Key words: Musa, Apantu, physiology, postharvest, maturity indices.
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