Spatial variance of physicochemical properties within mangos and the effect of initial ripeness stage on the quality of fresh-cut mangos
Mangos (Mangifera indica L.) are one of the most popular and economically significant of the tropical fruit crops and are widely distributed around the world. In 2013, mango ranked fifth after banana, apple, grape, and orange in terms of total production among the world’s major fruit crops, with more than 43 million tons produced worldwide and 1.3 million tons exported, showing significant growth over previous years.1 It is expected that the volume of fresh mangos in the world market will increase in coming years because of their attractive appearance, unique flavor (taste and aroma), and rich nutritional content. In general, mangos are harvested mature-green and then shipped to distant markets to minimize over-ripening, bruising and losses in quality during postharvest handling and transportation.2 The physicochemical properties of fresh fruits are important criteria for determining their quality. The main physicochemical characteristics related to the ripening quality of mangos are firmness, flesh and peel color, total soluble solids content (SSC), titratable acidity (TA) and aromatic volatiles.2 – 5 Depending on the origin and cultivation practices, fruit quality and composition may vary greatly among fruits from the same lot.6 Uneven ripening of mangos with the same initial peel colors packed in the same carton is a common problem in the mango industry. Besides the variability within the mango lot as a whole, previous studies suggest that individual mango tissues develop differently; also, mangos ripen from the inside outward, resulting in a softer inner mesocarp (flesh) than outer mesocarp at each stage of ripening.5,7 As a result, appropriate quality measurements are necessary to develop practical procedures for measuring and processing fresh-cut mangos. Fresh-cut mango processors utilize the entire mango fruit, and it is important to understand the range in quality parameters present in individual fruit at the time of processing. Although some previous studies refer to the quality changes in mango fruit during ripening and storage,8 – 10 information regarding the effect of spatial position within whole mangos on quality measurements is lacking. From our previous studies, although ‘Tommy Atkins’ mangos with an initial whole fruit firmness of 25 N were best received by consumer, they are difficult to handle and store, with shorter shelf-life and lower yields in fresh-cut mango processing.11 In this study, we are interested in the higher initial whole fruit firmness range of 35, 45 and 55 N specifically for fresh-cut processing. The objectives of this study were (i) to measure the spatial variation in physicochemical characteristics within individual mangos and (ii) to investigate the influence of initial ripeness level on physicochemical characteristics of fresh-cut mango cubes, including the sensory evaluation scores, CIE L*a*b* color, firmness, SSC and TA.