B.N. : Prunus armeniaca
Family : Rosaceae
Origin : North Eastern China
Chromosome no. : 8(2n=16)
Type of fruit : Drupe
Edible portion : Mesocarp and Endocarp
Apricot is an important fruit crop of midhill and
dry temperate regions of the country. Grown wild
In the hills of Shimla and Himachal Pradesh .
It is rich in vitamin A and contains more proteins,
carbohydrates, phosphorus and niacin than any
other common fruits. Besides its use as a dessert
It can be canned and dried. Fruit is processed into
Jam nectar and squash . Kernal is also a valuable
biproduct used in confectionary, pastry and oil
Apricots if harvested immature they lack the full flavor of tree
The fruits generally mature between 1st week of May to June end
depending upon variety and location.
Skin color is used to judge harvest maturity. Fan et al.(2000)
defined maturity stage 1 as light green, partially turning to a straw
colour, and maturity stage 2 as straw colour on most of the fruit
Change of colour, days from full bloom to harvesting and fruit TSS
are considered as the best indices of maturity.
For fresh marketing, fruits should be plucked when they change
their surface colour from green to yellow. Fully ripe fruits are
harvested for freezing, canning and drying.
Apricot production in tonnes
Apricots should be picked when still firm because of their
highly susceptible to bruising when fully ripe and soft.
Fruits which were harvested while they were still green
and kept for 3 days at 19 degree celcius with 1000ppm
ethylene for the 1st 24-48 hrs lacked the aroma and
flavor of fruits as compared to the fruits which were
left on the trees for a further 6 or 7 days to ripen
naturally (Fideghelli et al 1967).
Apricots should be uniform in size, and not more than 5%
in each container may vary >6mm when measured at the
widest part of the cross section.
The fruits are hand harvested and sorted in the orchard
into three maturities, designated as M1, M2 and M3.
These are defined as follows: (M1) as hard fruit with
overall green color, (M2) as firm fruit with yellow to
yellow orange ground color on the cheeks and little or no
green on the suture or ends and (M3) as moderately soft
fruit with an overall yellow-orange ground color.
All fruits are sorted for freedom from bruising and decay.
Apricot fruits were treated with 1 micron per litre
1-MCP for 4 hrs at 20 degree celsius, then stored at 0 or
20 degree celsius.
The onset of ethylene production was delayed,
respiration rate was reduced, firmness and titratable
acidity was better retained following the 1-MCP
treatment and storage at both temperatures.
1-MCP treatment also delayed the production of volatile
alcohols and esters during ripening at 20 degree celsius
and they had less colour change than controls.
• Storage at 0 degree celsius is necessary to
minimize incidence and severity of chilling injury
like gel breakdown, flesh browning, loss of flavor, etc
on susceptible cultivars.
• Research found that hypobaric treatment could delay
softening and senescence and climacteric nature of Apricot
fruits by reducing respiration rate, polygalacturonase and
other activities of post harvest Apricot fruits, and keeping
normal structure and function of pulp cell.
ADVANTAGES OF HYPOBARIC STORAGE
Hypobaric storage has prominent effects on fresh
keeping of Apricot fruits.
Reduce respiration rate and delay climacteric.
Slows down degradation rate of total acid content.
Could slow down augment rate of the reducing sugar
content of Apricot fruits.
Could inhibit the activity of polygalacturonase.
Could slow down augment rate of water soluble
pectin content of Apricot fruits.
Could maintain firmness of Apricot fruits.
Controlled atmospheric storage
CAS can lead to an increase in internal browning in some cultivars
(Hardenburg et al. 1990)
A 1% O2 atmosphere maintained acceptable firmness and colour
during storage at 15 degree celsius for fruit harvested with 13-14
Early harvested fruits, with 9-10 degree Brix, did not benefit from
low O2 (1% or 2 %) storage because they had not reached the
optimal soluble solids content.
For late harvest fruit (13-14 degree Brix) the use of 1% O2 at
higher temperature(15 degree celsius) than that used commercially
can be an alternative to low temperature(5 degree celsius) as a
shipping treatment or long term storage(Botondi et al. 2000)
Post Harvest Treatment
Exposure to <1% O2 may result in development of off
flavours and <5% CO2 for longer than 2 weeks can cause
browning and loss of odour.
The addition of 5-10% CO2 as a fungistat during transport
can help retain its quality.
Pre storage treatment with 20% CO2 for 2 days can reduce
decay during subsequent transport or storage.
Apricots are put mainly in 3 types of packages-
boxes up to 5kg of weight prepared for free sale service, expanded
polystyrene trays; expanded cardboard or in packages called flow
pack. Small boxes of 1 kg are also available for direct sale.
Expanded polystrene trays with plastic film are also used in order
to make the purchase easier. It is also more attractive for the
consumers and it preserves the organoleptic characteristics.
Latest trends in packaging include flow-pack, a small transparent
PVC basket in which the apricots are arranged.
Small sized CFB cartons are also used for packing apricots. The
CFB cartons are lighter in weight, easy to handle and in packing.
POST HARVEST DISEASES AND DISORDERS
Gel Breakdown or Chilling Injury : Develops in cold storage,
particularly at 2-7 degree celsius when Apricots are stored for a
long period. This physiological problem is characterized in early
stages by formation of water soaked areas that subsequently turn
brown. Breakdown of tissue is sometimes accompanied by
sponginess and gel formation. Fruit stored at these temperatures
have short market life and lose flavor.
Pit Brown : Flesh tissue around the stone softens and turns brown
When the Apricots are exposed to temperatures above 30 degree
celsius before harvest. This heat injury increases with higher
temperature and longer duration of exposure.
Brown Rot : Causal Organism - Monilia fructicola
It is the most important postharvest disease of Apricot.
Infection begins during flowering. Fruit rots may occur before
harvest, but often occur post harvest.
Orchard sanitation to minimize infection sources, pre harvest
fungicide application, and prompt cooling after harvest are
Rhizopus Rot : Causal Organism - Rhizopus stolonifer
The disease occurs frequently in ripe or near ripe fruit held at 20
to 25 degree celsius.
Cooling fruit and holding below 5 degree celsius are very
effective for controlling this fungus.
Apricots contain plenty of fibre, vitamins especially vitamin A,
potassium, phosphorus, niacin, carbohydrates than any other
fruit with one serving totaling only 60 calories apricots may
need a little more attention. Apart from common nutrients they
are also source of Laetrile, a proposed alternative treatment to
cancer. Apricot seeds were also used against treatment for
tumors, swellings, ulcers in olden days. They have wide range of
uses in confectionary to pharmaceutical industry.
Raising the benefits of this fruit, it can be concluded that
emphasis should be laid on apricots cultivation to a higher
degree in our country.