Effect of packaging and modified atmosphere on the shelf life of rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum)
Rambutans undergo rapid darkening and dehydration of the skin in 72 h or less when stored unwrapped at ambient temperature. Storage at 8C extended the shelf life of fresh unwrapped fruits to 6 days. Low permeability packaging (polyethylene rigid containers) together with low temperature storage extended the shelf life further to 18 days. Increasing the initial concentration of CO2 to an optimum level of 7% at 8 effectively suppressed respiration of fresh fruit and prolonged the shelf life to nearly a month. Total absence of oxygen (as with vacuum packages) was detrimental to the shelf life of fresh fruits since they were unable to respire normally. A good correlation was found between weight loss, darkening of skin and firmness of the fruits. The post-harvest deterioration of fruits was found to be mostly physiological.