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PL15 - Air Freight

  • Plums are harvested at a mature but unripe stage for airfreight. Most plum cultivars do not ripen satisfactory at ambient temperatures if harvested mature but unripe. Ripening must therefore be stimulated to ensure good eating quality.
  • To stimulate normal ripening in plums harvested mature, ethylene production must be activated. Ethylene production can be activated by a short period of cold storage near to 0 °C, followed by elevation of storage temperature. This is also referred to as a cold shock. This can be achieved by cooling the plums to below 3 °C for a minimum of two days prior to exposure to ripening temperatures of 7.5 °C or higher.
  • Air freight temperatures can vary greatly and depends on many factors. It normally entails storage at approximately 16 °C for two days. Partial ripening will therefore occur during air freight provided that the plums received a prior cold shock.
  • If air freight is considered for plums, the best results will be achieved by harvesting relatively mature (Note that the minimum flesh firmness for most cultivars can be 1.5 kg lower for air freight than for sea freight). Standard packaging should be used. Fruit should be cooled to below 3 °C before air freight and if necessary plums can be further ripened after arrival in the market place. Ripening can be done at temperatures ranging between 7.5 °C and 20 °C. Generally there will be less variation in maturity between fruit at ripening temperatures between 7.5 °C and 10 °C than at 20 °C, but fruit will take longer to ripen.
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