Quality changes in papaya fruit under different storage temperatures and duration
Keywords:papaya carica, storage temprature, fruit quality, nutrient retention, postharvest
Kenya experiences high postharvest losses in the fruit and vegetable subsector which have been estimated to 50%. These losses are mainly due to poor postharvest handling practices, lack of storage facilities and/or poor storage conditions. Papaya (Carica papaya L.) is a highly perishable climacteric fruit with a short shelf life and requires proper storage and handling practices due to its delicate skin texture, high moisture content and its high respiratory rates. In this study, F hybrid and Mountain variety papayas were collected at Meru county in May 2022 and stored at three different temperatures (6, 16 and 24 ˚C) for a duration 0, 4, 8 and 12 days to evaluate their effects on the nutrient and biochemical retention. Data collected was subjected to a two-way ANOVA (separately) in a completely randomised block design, using GenStat statistical software package (14th edition). Storage temperatures and durations significantly (p<0.05) decreased papaya firmness, peel and flesh hues; vitamin C, potassium, iron, moisture content from 6 to 24 ˚C while there was an increase in carbohydrates and total soluble solids (TSS). Mountain fruits had more moisture, carbohydrates, iron and TSS while F fruits had appealing peel and flesh colours and retained more potassium. Successful nutrient retention of the papaya fruits was attained at 16 ˚C and 8 days. F hybrid fruits were comparable to the local papaya variety, Mountain, on the various tested parameters which could make it suitable for consumer utilisation and market exploitation in Kenya.