Quality of bananas harvested at different development stages and subjected to cold storage
ABSTRACT One of the biggest problems faced by banana growers is to determine the most appropriate harvest time. This study aimed to evaluate the post-harvest conservation of 'Prata-Anã' bananas harvested at 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 weeks after the inflorescence emergence and subjected to 25 days of cold storage at the temperature of 13.5 ºC (± 1 ºC) and 90 % (± 5 %) of relative humidity. The bananas harvested at 19 and 20 weeks after the inflorescence emergence showed a more advanced maturity stage after 25 days of cold storage at 13.5 ºC. The bananas showed an increase in the content of soluble solids, as well as sugars, during the evaluations, after withdrawal from the cold room. Regardless of the fruit age, there was a decrease in the pH values over the 9 days of evaluation, after the 25-day storage period. The fruits at the ages of 19 and 20 weeks presented, on average, starch contents lower than those of the fruits with 16, 17 and 18 weeks. Fruits at the ages of 19 and 20 weeks showed higher extravasation levels on the second day of evaluation. Both the fruit harvest time and storage temperature directly influenced the post-harvest conservation and the physical and chemical characteristics of the 'Prata-Anã' bananas.