Mark Ritenour with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) reports on evaluations of new fresh mandarin and sweet orange selections. Ritenour is a professor at the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce.
Ritenour lists four mandarin varieties that had “100 percent healthy fruit” after six or seven weeks in storage, even without being washed or waxed or treated with fungicides. Those varieties are LB8-9 (Sugar Belle), 950 (Florida Clementine), 7-6-27 (Bingo) and 1420 (Marathon). He says 100 percent healthy fruit is that in which researchers “don’t see decay or peel breakdown or other physiological disorders.”
Ritenour reports some surprise at those mandarin selections being so healthy after such long storage. He says mandarins are “known for usually a … shorter shelf life … I thought we would have more breakdown or problems with the fruit, that they might not last that long.”
Researchers found no new oranges that were 100 percent healthy after seven to eight weeks of storage. But T2-21 had 91 percent healthy fruit and OLL 8 had 94 percent healthy fruit. Ritenour thinks oranges had lower scores related to specific harvests. He says “certain harvests might have a lot more decay” possibly due to diseases in the field or rough handling during the harvest.
Ritenour suggests a way growers might increase the quality of fresh fruit harvested from their groves. “The best thing you can do is producing a healthy tree, because once you harvest it (the fruit), we can’t do anything to increase the quality,” he says. He adds that producing a healthy tree is more difficult in the face of HLB.
This interview with Ritenour is part of the current episode of the All In For Citrus podcast, a joint project of UF/IFAS and AgNet Media. Listen to the full podcast here.
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