Fruits Vegetables
es en ca
Litchee, Litchi chinensis / Sapindaceae
The standard packaging for litchees is a cardboard box of 5 kg of weight. Nevertheless, plastic trays and small baskets are gradually used, covered with a plastic film that extends the conservation of this fruit. Recent research has proved that those baskets which are covered with plastic film keep the moisture much better, preventing dehydration and maintaining the colour of the fruit. (Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation.

According to a research carried out by Steven Underhill, John Bagshaw and Cameron Turner, from the Horticulture Postharvest Group in Hamilton, Deparment of Primary Industries Queensland, entitled "Evaluation of Packaging Options for Litchee’, the correct packaging is crucial in order to avoid the premature browning of the skin. Broning is caused by a fast loss of water during the packaging process, transport and display in the point of sale.

Plastic bags or cardboard boxes have been widely used to reduce water loss and browning.

This study has taken into account the different types of plastic bags that are commercially available: low density polyethylene bags of 35, 50 and 75 micrometers of thickness, Lifespan film, PY-7 and PY-1 perforated bags of 2,5kg. A newly designed cardboard under the name of Active Packaging has also been tested, supplied by the Australian National Line (ANL) as an alternative to polybags.

This cardboard has been specially designed to prevent the loss of moisture and, at the same time, to absorb the remaining moisture, thus preventing condensation.

The evaluation was carried out using different temperatures so as to simulate marketing handling. The results of this trial show that the skin browning increases with storage in all the types of packages. On the other hand, it has been proved that cooling the fruit up to 5 degrees Celsius before it is packaged in bags reduces condensation. Besides, if the fruit is packaged once cooled and the cardboard packages are kept around 5 degrees Celsius, the risk of condensation and rooting decreases dramatically.

Wholesalers and retailers prefer transparent packages (like the PY-1 and PY-7 bags). Nevertheless, condensation will take place if the non-cooled fruit is packaged in these bags and it is subject to fluctuating temperatures. In short, there are no simple answers for the packaging of litchees. It is recommended to take into account the following recommendations:

- Consult your agent before choosing a package.
- Pre-cool the fruit up to 5 degrees Celsius before packaging. It will reduce the risk of condensation in the package.
- Select a package that enables to see the product. Avoid coloured or dyed plastic.
- Verify the resistance of the material.
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