Optimum Relative Humidity: 90-95%
Benefits of CA: Low O2is not beneficial for asparagus. Elevated CO2maintains tenderness, retains solids and green color and retards development of soft rot; 5-9% C02 is appropriate at 3-6 °C and 10-14% CO2can be used if the temperature is maintained at 1-3°C. An atmosphere of 10% O2+ 10% CO2is used for long distance shipments.
Benefits of Ethylene Removal: Asparagus produces very little ethylene However, ambient ethylene can cause toughening of the spears so sources of ethylene should be excluded.
Special Treatments Before Shipping: Moisture loss can be minimized by cooling adequately and packing asparagus on moist pads or in perforated plastic liners. Asparagus should be kept vertical so that the spears do nol bend as they continue to elongate after harvest. Brief exposures to 20% CO2can reduce soft rot at the butt end. Spears tolerate insecticidal treatments with 60% CO2 for 4 days at 0°C.
Varietal Differences: No varietal differences in optimum postharvesl handling have been documented.
Mixed Loads: Asparagus is sensitive to ethylene-induced toughening and so should not be shipped with commodities that produce ethylene.
Cautions: O2 less than 10% can cause discoloration of the spear. CO2greater than 10% at 3-6°C and greater than 15% at 0-3°C can increaso elongation of the spears, weight gain and sensitivity to chilling and pitting Asparagus is chilling sensitive if held at less than 3°C for longer than 3-4 weeks. A CA of 10% O2+ 10% CO2 at 1°C has been used for intercontinental and marine shipments.
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