GUAVA FRUITS COATED WITH PRE-COOKED MAIZE MEAL HAVE A LONGER SHELF LIFE
Keywords:Guava storability, Pre-cooked maize meal, Weight loss, Shrinkage Index
Guava being a climacteric fruit exhibits high respiration and ethylene production, which hastens its senescence during postharvest handling. A survey was conducted in four agro ecological zones in Taita Taveta County of Kenya; namely Wundanyi (Upper midland; UM 3), Mwatate (Lower midland; LM 4), Taveta (Lower midland; LM 5 both irrigated and rain fed) and Voi (Inner lowland zone) to determine the extent of postharvest losses and storability of guava fruits of different flesh colours. Consequently, a laboratory experiment was conducted at The University of Eldoret, Department of Seed, Crop and Horticultural Sciences to determine the storability of differently fleshed guava fruits under different treatments. The experiment was laid under completely randomized design and replicated five times. The treatments consisted of distilled water, lemon juice, various concentrations of nitric oxide (0.5, 2.0, 3.5, 5.0, 6.5 and 8.0%) and precooked maize meal made from maize flour. In each of the solutions of distilled water, lemon juice and nitric oxide, 25 fruits each of red and white flesh colours were dipped for 10 min and thereafter removed. Similarly, 50 fruits were fully coated with precooked maize meal. Changes in diameter and weight were recorded daily until the last day the fruits remained consumable. Survey results indicated majority of the farmers (97.9%) experienced postharvest losses of which 40% reported the fruits to take a maximum of 5 days to spoil after harvesting. Guava fruits coated with precooked maize meal kept for 13 days. A concentration of 3.5 % nitric oxide was found to keep fruits for longer up to the 8th day of storage. Notably, both red and white fleshed fruits coated with precooked maize meal recorded the least shrinkage index across the storage period. In conclusion, guava fruits can be kept for longer using precooked maize meal. However, an anti- browning and anti- mold agent should be added to the flour.
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