J. hort. Sci.

(1973) 48, 227-233

Respiration and ripening patterns in tbe life cycle of tbe mango fruit
ByS.LAKSHMITNARAYANA Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore-2A, India

Alphonso mangoes picked at any stage of maturity (starting from fruit-set) and stored at room temperature show typical respiratory changes characteristic of a fulIy matured mango. Fruits picked during the earlier and later stages of development show respiration climacteric within 6-10 days. During the middle stages of development the preclimacteric trough continues to extend and the climacteric occurs after 10 days. Fully mature, tree-ripe mango es do not show a respiratory c1imacteric during post-harvest storage. Chemical constituents, such as titratable acids, apparent ascorbic acid, carbohydrates and carotenoids, estimated both at harvest and in ripe fruits from different pickings show changes similar to those characteristic of a fully matured ripening fruit. Possibilities of reducing losses from pre-harvest fruit drop and post-harvest decay by resorting to early harvesting are discussed. AMONG the different cultivars of mango, the fruits of Alphonso, Dusheri and Banishan (Banganapalle) have excellent qualities that satisfy the requirements of table and processing. Fresh mango fruits have a short storage life of 10-12 days at room temperature and also suffer low temperature injury (chilling injury) during refrigerated storage. It is, therefore, necessary to develop improved methods of storage in the fresh state to extend shelf-life without affecting quality. A thorough understanding of the development and post-harvest physiology of the fruit is essential to achieve this objective and to overcome disorders in fresh fruit storage. In India Alphonso mango trees flower during the early part of February, and their fruits are ready for harvest after about 16 weeks. The season lasts for 2-3 months and the peak of production occurs during May and June in the Alphonso growing areas. Mangoes are invariably harvested in bulk, and the crop contains fruits varying in maturity and size. In commercial practice the fruits are allowed to remain on the tree during the entire period of development (16 weeks), so that the ripe fruit has weIl balanced flavour and aroma. This practice of harvesting, however, generaIly coincides with the onset of the monsoon and thereby results in heavy pre-harvest drops and hail storm injury. Reduction of these losses is an urgent necessity. In an earlier communication (Lakshminarayana el al., 1970), studies related to the physical, physiological and biochemical changes occurring in Alphonso fruit at different stages of development were discussed. The present investigation was primarily aimed at studying the respiration and ripening patterns of fruit at different periods of deve10pment


In subsequent stages the rate of respiration was not as high as in the first six stages. There was a remarkably close relationship between hardening of the stone and the post-harvest respiratory behaviour. These fruits appeared very similar in such physical characters as weight. The internal flesh of both unripe and ripe fruit of 15 weeks' maturity was blemished and spongy near the stone. and the climacteric occurred 2-5 days after harvest. which suggests that physical attributes are not helpful in ascertaining the maturity offruits. Chemical composition The chemical composition of the fruit both at the harvest and ripe stages is given in Table 11. over-mature or tree-ripe fruits invariably showed serious tissue blemishes. The incidence of this condition increased in fruits harvested at 16 weeks or when tree-ripe. and those from the 11 th week of maturity were less acid. subsequent1y.LAKSHMINARAYANA RESULTS 229 Nature 01 respiratory curves Figure 1 gives the respiratory curves of fruits picked at various stages of maturity (A-Q). These characteristic changes beca me more apparent in ripe fruits from the 13th week of maturity after bloom. The curves A-F were very similar in form. It is likely that the tree-ripe fruit produced a climacteric while it was still on the tree. at this time the graphs show a pre-climacteric _trough which lasted 10nger in storage than at any other time during the life-cycle of the fruit (I-M). aIl having an early pronounced climacteric. Tree-ripe mangoes did not show a climacteric peak (Q) even after 7 days' storage. size and appearance. colour and aroma associated with normal ripening. The physiological loss in weight of ripe fruit was greater until about the 9th week of maturity. The CH curves on Figure 1 represent the post-harvest respiratory behaviour of a number of fruits selected at random from a commercial harvest. the nature of the curve appeared to be transitory as compared with either A . Optimal acidity was found in ripe fruits harvested at or after 13 weeks. up to the 15th week. the weight 10ss was about 15 %during a period of 17 days. These show that fruits undergo the climacteric in CO 2 production irrespective of the stage of development. No significant changes occurred in reducing sugars either at harvest or after . The apparent ascorbic acid content in the ripe fruit showed a slightly higher 10ss during the ripening of fruits of advanced maturity than in fruits from earlier harvests. From the 14th week onwards (N-P) the fruit after harvest took only 5-7 days to reach the climacteric (P). CO2 production was very high during the post-harvest storage period in the young fruit up to 6 weeks' maturity (A-F). Ripe fruits of 6-10 weeks' development (F-J) were highly acid. In almost all these stages the pre-climacteric trough lasted only about two days. by which time the fruit had become overripe. Condition 01 the Iruit Table 1 gives the physical and physiological condition of fruit both at harvest and when ripe from the 6th week (F-Q) after fruit set. but they showed different respiratory patterns with regard to the number of days to the climacteric. From the 7th to the 9th week stage (G-I) the climacteric occurred on or around the 8th day.F or J-M. The hardening of the stone begins from the 9th week and is completed after the 13th week. Fruit picked at any stage of maturity showed perceptible changes in texture.