In addition to the high post harvest losses (46%), the quality of ripe papaya in the market place is very poor. High level of mechanical damage, disease development, the presence of 'green islands' on the skin and poor quality of the flesh contribute to the loss of quality. Experiments were conducted to find out the effect of the stage of maturity at harvest on the quality of ripe papaya of 'Rathna' variety. The maturity stages tested were trace yellow, 25% yellow, 50% yellow and full yellow. Harvesting at trace yellow stage, did not result in the development of attractive yellow skin colour. In addition, shriveling of fruits, excessive weight loss and high incidence of diseases in fruits reduced visual quality rating. Although fruits harvested at full yellow stage developed bright yellow skin colour, susceptibility to damage during handling resulted in low visual quality rating. Of the packaging materials tested Styrofoam sleeves proved better than newspaper and rice straw. The spongy nature of Styrofoam sleeves would have helped to absorb vibration and reduced mechanical damages during transport. The development of 'green islands' as physiological disorder was more on fruits harvested at trace yellow and 25% yellow colour. This disorder was further aggravated by mechanical injuries caused during transport. Although hot- water treatment significantly reduced the postharvest disease of papaya, the treatment increased the 'green island' formation when fruits were harvested at trace yellow and 25% yellow stages of maturity.
How to Cite:
Sarananda, K.H., Balasuriya, S.T. and Ganeshalingam, K., 2010. Quality of papaya variety 'Rathna' as affected by postharvest handling. Tropical Agricultural Research and Extension, 7, pp.71–78.