Impact of Harvest Maturity on Consumer Preference, Fruit Quality, and Postharvest Longevity of Two Kiwifruit Cultivars (Actinidia chinensis Planch.)
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
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Harvest maturity is closely associated with postharvest performance and consumer preference of kiwifruit. This research focused on the impact of harvest maturity on consumer preference and postharvest performance of two Actinidia chinensis cultivars, ‘AU Golden Dragon’ and ‘AU Golden Sunshine’, grown in central Alabama. The first study focused on the effects of harvest maturity and storage time on fruit quality and postharvest performance of these two cultivars. Fruit were harvested at 7 day intervals from mid-Aug. to mid-Sept. in 2015 (four harvest dates for both cultivars) and 2016 (four harvest dates for ‘AU Golden Sunshine’; five harvest dates for ‘AU Golden Dragon). Fruit quality attributes were measured at harvest but after 64 hours curing time and subsequently every 14 days until the firmness of fruit was less than 0.5 kgf or 80% of fruit showed visual symptoms of severe chilling injury. ‘AU Golden Dragon’ harvested around 30 Aug. with 7.8– 8% soluble solids content (SSC) had a longer storage life, a more consistent market window and a relatively lower chilling injury incidence. ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ harvested 6 Sept. –13 Sept. with SSC 8.0–10.0% had a relatively longer storage life and a lower chilling injury incidence. The second study determined the effect of harvest maturity on consumer preference of these two cultivars. Sensory evaluation was conducted in 2016 using fruit harvested at 7 day intervals from mid-Aug. to mid-Sept for 5 weeks and 4 weeks, respectively, for ‘AU Golden Dragon’ and ‘AU Golden Sunshine’. Fruit quality was measured at harvest and before sensory evaluation. During sensory evaluation, 90 volunteers judged nine kiwifruit samples in three separate groups by using 9-point hedonic scales. In general, ‘AU Golden Dragon’ was rated higher with consumers than ‘AU Golden Sunshine’. Harvest maturity did not affect overall consumer preference for ‘AU Golden Dragon’, indicating a longer harvest window for ‘AU Golden Dragon’, while consumer’s preferred ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ fruit harvested on 29 Aug. 2016.