Norman Collett trials find new technologies extend storage-life of stone fruit

The storage life of stone fruit can be extended by three weeks thanks to new technologies, trials by fruit marketer Norman Collett have shown.

New technoloiges extend storage life. Image: Morguefile
New technoloiges extend storage life. Image: Morguefile

Collet's technical director Nigel Jenner told growers at East Malling Research's top fruit storage members' day last month that tests done last year on cherries and plums using three techniques showed some good results - with the SmartFresh trials on Marjorie's Seedling the biggest success.

The storage management product SmartFresh is already widely-used on apples, but Jenner found that it can extend the season of Marjorie's Seedling plums by up to three weeks.

He said: "It's very exciting. The SmartFresh-treated fruit looked much healthier. There are big benefits in quality and length of storage when SmartFresh is used on Marjorie's Seedling."

He added that the product also worked well on Victoria plums - but should be used to improve their quality rather than to extend their season.

"If we start extending the marketing season of Victorias we will clash with the Marjorie season."

Jenner also told delegates the treatment works well on cherries but that the potential benefits "do not really merit the costs of treatment".

Other storage treatments trialled included Mat Tiempo Controlled Atmosphere (CA) bins, which are bulk bin-sized containers that work like a miniature CA system. The atmosphere inside the bins is controlled by a permeable membrane on the lid of the bin that regulates the entry of oxygen and exit of carbon dioxide.

Jenner said that although some damaged fruit rotted, the quality of the sound fruit remained "exceptional" for more than three weeks.

"The quality of the cherries we used was not good - we had just over 50 per cent class one in the packhouse, so yes, there were some rotten ones, but the sound fruits were very good.

"The bins costs around £130, so larger growers could not justify their expense, but for small producers they are very good, " he added.

Jenner also trialled the Biofresh mobile ozone generator, which controls ozone levels near the fruit to sanitise its storage environment.

Jenner, who stored the fruit at 1 degsC, said: "It extended the storage life of both plums and cherries by more than three weeks."

By comparison, the old fruit was so rotten it was thrown away before the trial had finished.

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