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Beetroot, Beta vulgaris var. esculenta / Chenopodiaceae
Postharvest Atmosphere Management
Fast pre-cooling stops the biochemical changes that give rise to damages caused by bruises during harvesting. It is a usual practice in the United States.

The storage of beetroots with leaves is limited by the foliage’s loss of quality, since they tend to yellow. In this case, storage is limited to low temperatures around 7-10 days. The optimal conditions are achieved by storing them in the fridge at 0ºC and 95% of relative moisture. Freezing temperatures or over 2ºC must be avoided; the latter reduce the storage period.

Controlled atmospheres at temperatures between 0 - 5ºC and 98-100% of relative moisture, free from oxygen and carbon dioxide, have practically no effect on beetroots.
Distribution
The same environmental conditions recommended for storage favour the beetroot’s keeping quality during transport and distribution.
Postharvest Problems
The main changes affecting beetroots during post-harvest are: loss of water, sprouting and diseases (soft bacterial rot, black rot, Rhizoctonia violacea, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum).

Water loss.
The loss of water causes loss of turgescence, symptoms of blight and loss of weight.

Sprouting
The growth of leaves is favoured by temperatures over 2ºC. It stimulates the loss of water and consequently the wrinkling of the root, that undergoes a faster dehydration.

Diseases
Among them most important alterations we find: soft bacterial rot, black rot, Rhizoctonia violacea, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum.

- Soft bacterial rot: Caused by Erwinia carotovora and other bacteria. It does not affect so much beetroot as the rest of crops. Even so, it is an important cause of post-harvest losses in tender beetroots. The first symptoms are dark areas, soaked up in water, that increase their size very fast. The tissues affected softens very fast and acquires a viscous looking, giving off an unpleasant smell.

- Black rot: Caused by the fungus Phoma betae that sometimes affects beetroots. Therefore, the losses are not severe. The greater incidence is in non-cooled storage. It occurs in the tip of the root and less frequently in the crown, or the damaged sides of the crown. Since beetroots have a dark colour, these damages are not detected until the affected weave turns into a black colour and sinks. Old beetroots are more sensitive to the attack of this fungus. They are usually contaminated in the field. Sometimes the infections occur through wounds or following other diseases.

- Rhizoctonia violacea: This fungus causes purple plates on the roots; the attack takes place in the field, being quite serious. The storage of altered units may contaminate all the warehouse.
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