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Susceptibility to post-harvest chilling damage in sweet peppers, and treatments to minimize its effect

Elizabeth Kehr M.1

The susceptibility to chilling damage (DPE) with sweet peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) was evaluated in the tolerant cultivar El Paso, and in the susceptible cultivar ‘King Arthur’. The effect of different post-harvest treatments on the reduction of chilling injury was evaluated. Transplanting was carried out in December 2000, at the Julio Ortúzar P. Experimental Station located close to Santiago, of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, with a density of 31 250 plants ha-1, 0.4 m on the row and 0.8 m between rows, with furrow irrigation. The fertilization dose was calculated according to soil analysis, and pest and disease control according to a previously defined application timetable. The experiments were carried out at the Post-harvest Laboratory of the Crop Department. The results verified the degree of susceptibility of cultivars, with 18.6% damaged in King Arthur fruit and 7.7% damaged in El Paso. The immersion in hot water at 60ºC for one minute diminished chilling damage by 58%, and plastic film coverage by 91%, with 15 days storage at 0ºC and 90% relative humidity, maintaining good product appearance for 3 day extended storage period at 20ºC and 50% relative humidity. The chemical products calcium chloride, methylcyclopropene (MCP) and methyl jasmonate did not have an effect on reducing chilling damage.

Key words: Capsicum annuum L., horticulture, post-harvest, cultivars, hot water immersion, plastic film.

1 Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, Centro Regional de Investigación Carillanca, Casilla 58-D, Temuco, Chille. E-mail: ekehr@inia.cl

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