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Endive, Cichorium endivia / Compositae
Postharvest Atmosphere Management
Pre-cooling is a fundamental technique to maintain the endive’s satisfactory quality. Different methods are used for this purpose. The most suitable one is vacuum pre-cooling, for which it is necessary to dampen the produce beforehand. The temperature normally reaches 2ºC. Another type of system is cold water cooling.

Endives are stored at temperatures around 0ºC and relative humidity between 95 and 98%. In this way, curly endives are kept between 15 and 30 days, whereas those of straight leaf may last up to 50 days. This vegetable is quite sensitive to ethylene, accelerating its decay; therefore, they must be kept in ethylene-free environments.

Modified atmospheres have been tested on endives; the optimal conditions are levels of oxygen between 1 and 5% and carbon dioxide around 1%. This technique is not used at commercial level.
Distribution
The endive’s transport must be carried out at temperatures between 0 and 2ºC, keeping high levels of relative humidity. For short trips, less than 3 days, temperatures of 10ºC are allowed.

During distribution, the temperature must not exceed 10ºC and the moisture levels must be as high as possible. The piling of merchandise must be avoided.
Postharvest Problems
Endives may experience several alterations and parasitic diseases during their storage. Among the former, we find blight, yellowness or " brown stain’. Among the diseases stand out those caused by the fungi Botrytis cinerea, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and Bremia lactucae.

Blight: it is caused by the loss of water; in order to avoid it, endives must be stored at low temperatures and covered with plastic.

Yellowness: it is a normal process caused by the ageing of the lettuce, but it may accelerate with the proximity to ethylene.

Appearance of red spots: this alteration is characterized by the manifestation of small spots, 1mm wide and 2-4mm long. They are yellow at the beginning turning afterwards into a reddish colour. They usually appear in the inferior part of the central nerve of the leaves, and are caused by small ethylene concentrations.

Among the diseases that affect this species during storage we find the following:

Botrytis cinerea cinerea is a fungus that causes grey rot. It gives rise to some areas of a grey greenish or brown colour. The tissues soften and later on a grey down covers them.

Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is a fungus that gives rise to areas with watery appearance, of pale or pink-brown colour. A kind of white cotton covers them.

Mildew: this disease is caused by the fungus Bremia lactucae, that attacks in the field. During storage, the fungus reaches the nearest inner leaves. At the beginning, there are some yellow areas that later on end up dying. The affected area acquires a white characteristic dust.

Soft bacterial rots: they are characterized by soft areas that become watery. Some of the bacteria causing this disorder are those belonging to the sort Erwinia and Pseudomonas.
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