Ripening and postharvest behaviour of fruits of two Hylocereus species (Cactaceae)

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Fruit growth and ripening, and the effect on fruit quality of various storage temperatures, were studied with Hylocereus undatus and Hylocereus polyrhizus plants growing in Beer-Sheva (Israeli Negev desert) under greenhouse conditions. Fruit growth was sigmoidal with a strong decline in growth rate after the onset of peel colour change. The first change in peel colour was recorded 24-25 days after anthesis in H. undatus and 26-27 days in H. polyrhizus. In both species, the peel turned fully red 4-5 days after the first colour change (mean temperature for the study period was 26.6 ± 2.1°C). The slow growth phase was characterised by a decrease in the proportion of peel and concomitant increase in that of pulp, increase in the concentration of soluble solids and soluble sugars and a decline in firmness and the concentration of starch and mucilage. The surge in acidity prior to colour change indicated the beginning of the ripening processes. For H. polyrhizus, which has a red-violet pulp, the increase in pulp pigment paralleled the development of peel colour. Fruits were non-climacteric, and when harvested at close to full colour, they retained market quality for at least 2 weeks at 14°C or 1 week at 20°C. Storage at 6°C is not recommended, because transfer from that temperature to room conditions caused fruits to lose their firmness and flavour rapidly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalPostharvest Biology and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Sep 1999


  • Chemophysical changes
  • Gas production
  • Hylocereus polyrhizus
  • Hylocereus undatus
  • Pitaya
  • Storage


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