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Factors affecting postharvest management of apples: a guide to optimising quality

posted on 2023-05-22, 08:53 authored by Nissen, R, Sally BoundSally Bound, Rajendra Adhikari, Cover, I

Historically the Australian apple industry has exported to over 30 countries, but following a slump in apple exports due to loss of several markets in the mid 1970’s, exports have been growing steadily in recent years. Information provided in this manual is to assist and improve the knowledge of Australian apple growers who are considering sending their fruit to export markets. The aim of the manual is to assist growers to achieve the highest possible fruit quality to optimise the eating experience for consumers of Australian apples and ensure continued market access.

Fruit quality can be lost at any stage in the supply chain, including during harvesting, handling, storage and transport. So to maintain quality, attention to detail is important at all levels in the supply chain.

Engineering aspects of constructing and fitting out cold rooms and storage facilities are not covered in this guide. This is due to the wide array of storage facilities in terms of construction, age, coolers, scrubbers and equipment to control the atmosphere used in the storage facilities. Therefore, we assume that apple growers and exporters meet the requirements to cool fruit, maintain temperatures and controlled atmosphere conditions accurately as per the market access protocols for each country they wish to service.

Quality assurance systems are increasingly important to allow market access, however handling and storage conditions appropriate for each cultivar require careful monitoring. It is critically important to maintain strategies to preserve quality of harvested apples by reducing respiration and ethylene production during the postharvest phase. Good postharvest management maintains quality by reducing the ripening and metabolic (biochemical) processes that result in unwanted changes in colour, texture, flavour, composition and nutritional status. In addition, good postharvest practices also reduce water loss and gas production which results in shrivelling and shrinkage, softening, and change in appearance (the good; the not so good; the down-right ugly).


Department of Agriculture and Water Resources







Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)

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Copyright 2018 Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources; Fruit Growers Tasmania; Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and University of Tasmania

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