Curing kiwifruit : physical, physiological and storage impacts : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Food Science and Technology at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand. EMBARGOED until 28 February 2020
Curing of ‘Hayward’ kiwifruit is a postharvest approach to reduce decay and maintain quality during long-term storage. Curing occurs immediately after harvest, with fruit placed in picking bins in a covered packhouse space for a few days. Curing contributes to fruit quality by allowing the picking scar to heal (resulting in reduced Botrytis rot) and allows a proportion of
water loss, resulting in fruit cells that are less turgid and hence less prone to mechanical damage during packing. In the contemporary packhouse, curing is also used to buffer logistical challenges, since stockpiling fruit has advantages in ensuring the packing line continues to process fruit. In kiwifruit, the rates of cooling to storage temperature have previously been
identified as an influence on long-term storage outcomes, including firmness and storage breakdown development (SBD). Little is known about how curing contributes to long-term storage, yet there is potential to impact post-storage fruit quality given that curing occurs immediately prior to packing and cooling. There is a lack of knowledge regarding the range of conditions which fruit are exposed to when bins are stacked under non-controlled conditions. It is also unknown how these conditions may influence fruit quality (i.e. fruit softening and SBD development) after long-term storage. This thesis incorporates monitoring of within bin environmental conditions to assess possible in-stack heterogeneity during curing.