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Cauliflower, Brassica oleracea var. botrytis / Cruciferae (Brassicaceae)
Postharvest Atmosphere Management
Cauliflower
In order to conserve cauliflowers for longer time it is recommended to precool them at 0-5ºC. Afterwards they can be preserved at 0-1ºC and 95% of humidity for 1 month and a half at the most. This storage period may extend to 2 months with the use of controlled atmosphere.

If cauliflowers are commercialized immediately after their harvesting, they are preserved only with the leaves that cover them. When they are due to be preserved for a longer period, it is recommended to precool them at a temperature of 0-5ºC. It is important that this process takes place as soon as possible, in order to extend the cauliflower’s postharvest life.

The most recommended methods to precool are forced humid air and frozen water.

Cauliflowers are not suitable for long conservation. If they are maintained at temperatures between 0 and 1ºC with 95% relative humidity they may last at the most for 1 and a half months. It is recommended not to remove the leaves, since they protect from dehydration and the attack of diseases. If there are no leaves, one can use polyvinyl chloride or perforated polyethylene films.

The ethylene level must be low to prevent the effects of abscission on the leaves.

This storage period may extend to 2 months with the use of controlled atmosphere. The best results are obtained with concentrations of oxygen between 2 and 5% and carbon dioxide up to 4%.
Distribution
Transport takes place at temperatures between 0 and 5ºC, with relative humidity higher than 90%, in order to avoid drying. The longer transport lasts, the lower the temperatures must be. During the distribution, temperatures must not exceed 10ºC, with an average humidity level and a strong ventilation to prevent ethylene accumulation.
Postharvest Problems
Cauliflowers may suffer different diseases during their conservation. The most harmful fungi in this stage are Botrytis and Alternaria, whereas among the worse bacteria are Erwinia and Pseudomonas.

During the conservation of cauliflowers there mainly appear parasite diseases. The most aggressive are the bacterial and the caused by fungi Alternaria and Botrytis.

Erwinia and Pseudomonas are bacteria that cause rots characterized by humid and watery brown areas.

Alternaria: this fungus produces a brown rot. It is one of the main damages in this stage, even worse if temperatures are not low enough. It produces round or oval spots in the leaves, 1 to 2cm, covered with a dark down. In the inflorescence it causes brown injuries that turn into greenish black.
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