A Comparative Study of Composition and Postharvest Performance of Organically and Conventionally Grown Kiwifruits
Postharvest performance of organic and conventional ‘Hayward’ kiwifruits grown on the same farm in Marysville, California, and harvested at the same maturity stage were compared in this study. Quality parameters monitored included morphological (shape index) and physical (peel characteristics) attributes of the initial samples. Maturity indices (CO2 and C2H4 production, firmness, color, soluble solids content and acidity) and content of compounds associated with flavor and nutritional quality (minerals, sugars and organic acids, ascorbic acid, total phenolics, and antioxidant activity) were determined at 0, 35, 72, 90 and 120 days of storage at 0 ◦C, and after 1week of shelf-life simulation at 20 ◦C, after each storage duration. Organically and conventionally grown kiwifruits had similar soluble solids content at harvest, but conventional kiwifruits had a higher firmness and L∗ value, and a lower hue angle and chromaticity, resulting in a lighter green color when compared with the organic kiwifruits. These differences were maintained for all the storage durations, with the soluble solids content increasing more in conventionally grown kiwifruits. The two production systems resulted in different morphological attributes since organic kiwifruits exhibited a larger total and columella area, smaller flesh area, more spherical shape, and thicker skin compared to conventional kiwifruits. All the main mineral constituents were more concentrated in organic kiwifruits, which also had higher levels of ascorbic acid and total phenol content, resulting in a higher antioxidant activity. Sugars and organic acids composition was not affected by the production system.