Cold Storage for Mangoes and How Does It Work

Cold Storage for Mangoes and How Does It Work


September 27, 2022


Mango or Mangifera indica L. is rich with flavour and aroma and that is why it is rightly the national fruit of India as well as the king of fruits! In fact, in India, mango is cultivated in the largest area of 2.218 million ha with a production of around 18.832 million MT and a productivity of 8.49 MT/ha. However, post-harvest handling of mango due to its climacteric nature remains a challenge. That is why post-harvest handling plays a critical role in reducing losses for both farmers and traders which account for 25 to 30% of the total loss. This is primarily due to a lack of low-temperature storehouses and robust cold chain infrastructure for storage and transportation.
In this article, we will briefly discuss cold storage facilities for mangoes and how you can utilise them to maximise your margins.

What Is the Effect of Temperature on the Shelf-Life of Mangoes?

More than 30 varieties of mango are grown commercially but a few important ones include Alphonso, Banganpalli, Chausa, Dashehri, Langra, Totapuri and Kesar. Storage conditions and shelf-life may vary depending on the variety of the fruit.

  • Temperature: It is one of the most critical factors in the deterioration of mango and that is why conditions during pre-cooling, handling, and storage determine the extended shelf-life. For instance, it was shown that the mango variety, Alphonso stored at a temperature of 12.7-15.0°C and 85-89 % relative humidity in cold storage had a maximum shelf life of 24 to 26 days.
    • Pre-cooling: Pre-cooling in mangoes is comparatively new but is useful, especially for exports. The objective of pre-cooling is to remove field heat and reduce the respiration rate. Generally, it thus helps in reducing water loss and slowing down the ripening process (ethylene production), extending the shelf-life of the fruit. It has been observed that pre-cooling at 12 and 16 ºC temperature extends the shelf-life and improves the quality of ripened fruits.

Critical Steps in Post-Harvest Handling of Mangoes

Here are some of the important steps involved in the handling and processing of mango fruit.

  • Post-harvest treatment: Post-harvest treatments are used to prolong shelf-life by controlling ethylene production and reducing the occurrence of anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides) and stem end rot. Some common chemicals used include 1-Methyl Cyclo Propane (1-MCP), methyl jasmonates, oxalic acid, acylated salicylic acid, etc. These treatments have been shown to greatly affect the biochemical properties of the fruit.
  • Packaging: Packaging is important in the supply chain of fruits. Traditionally, mangoes for domestic markets are packed in wooden boxes or crates. Special care should be taken to avoid bruising and often white, expandable netted type polystyrene sleeve is used over each mango fruit. In fact, insect-proof boxes are used for the fruit. Currently, mangoes are packed in different films to increase their shelf life by storing them in cold storage or modified atmospheric packaging (MAP).
  • Storage: In the northern part of India mangoes are harvested in the morning and are exposed to temperatures over 35 ºC and high humidity remain a challenge in increasing the shelf-life. Moreover, mangoes are prone to chilling injury. Below the critical temperature, climacteric fruits do not ripen and are prone to discolouration and pathogens/microbes. When exposed to low temperatures, the cell membrane integrity is lost and ion leakage is observed. However, low temperatures change the enzyme activity which has a role in the shelf-life. That is why appropriate storage temperatures are critical for prolonged shelf life and market value. Temperature requirements in cold storage vary depending on the mango variety. For instance, cold storage for Dashehri is 12 ºC with 85 to 90% relative humidity. For Langra it is 15 ºC, Chausa 10 ºC, and for Mallika and Amrapalli is 12 ºC.

General guidelines from APEDA

However, there are some associated issues with inefficient cold storage including power back-ups and generators to maintain proper functioning with appropriate conditions. Additionally, after the removal of fruits from the storage, there is perspiration on the fruit surface which requires at least two hours of waiting period until the next operation.

Many experts and segments of the trading community are in favour of controlled atmosphere (CA) cold storage with ULO (Ultra Low Oxygen). These methods do not require modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and may also increase the storage duration up to six to seven weeks. With that being said, there are some concerns with CA storage for mangoes such as fruit softening, poor colour development and higher titratable acidity (TA), and reduced aroma and flavour.

Final Words

Better handling and storage of mango means better quality which translates to happy customers and improved profits! Appropriate cold storage conditions are, therefore, necessary for prolonged shelf-life and reduced post-harvest decay. That is why when choosing cold storage for your harvest, make sure to look for experience, expertise, and strong technical support.

Rinac is a leader in cold chain solutions offering services for customised and turnkey projects for controlled atmosphere (CA) chambers, modified atmosphere (MA) chambers, ripening rooms, pre-cooler rooms, refrigerated transportation and much more to enhance the value of your post-harvest produce!

To know more, get in touch with us today!

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