Extending Postharvest Life Of Green Chilli Pepper Fruits With Modified Atmosphere Packaging
The effect of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) on the postharvest quality characteristics and biochemical properties of green chilli peppers (Capsicum annuum L. cv Legon 18) was investigated. Packaging films; Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) 35im Polypropylene (PP) 80,um and LDPE microperforated 31.75im were used to store fruits at 10°C for four weeks and at 26-34°C (ambient) for nine days. Biochemical analysis of the MAP-stored fruits for changes in ascorbic acid, total carotenoids and total phenolic contents were also carried out before and after storage. Data on weight loss, fruit firmness, fruit green colour retention and incidence of chilling injury were collected and subjected to statistical analysis. Packaging (MAP) resulted in significantly (p<0.05) lower weight loss at both 10°C and 26-34°C (ambient) temperatures compared to unpackaged pepper fruits stored at the same respective temperatures. Firmness was also fairly maintained in the film packed fruits compared to the unpacked at all the storage temperatures. Green colour retention in the fruits was significantly (p<0.05) higher in packaged fruits held at 10°C and ambient temperature than the controls. Chilling injury was fairly low after 28days of storage at 10°C. Changes in ascorbic acid, total carotenoids and phenolic contents were observed in chilli peppers after MAP storage at both low and ambient storage temperatures. This study showed that storage of green chilli peppers using MAP at 10°C and also at 26-34°C (ambient) temperature is beneficial in maintaining the quality and extending the marketable/shelf-life of fresh green chilli pepper fruits.