Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Pineapple Varieties

Pineapple, Ananas comosus, originated in South America and is a member of the Bromeliaceae family. Cultivated pineapple still possesses several characteristic features of this family:

• the root system is extremely fragileand the plant prefers light, well-tilledsoils;
• it tolerates very dry spells by stronglyreducing its growth but does not die;
• the leaf base is the most effective zonefor the uptake of nutrients and the plantresponds well to leaf fertilisers;
• flowering, induced by low temperaturesand short days, is erratic. This leads tothe most noteworthy feature ofpineapple growing—artificially inducedflowering.

Growers can thus more or less closely control harvest dates and yields as fruit weight depends on the size of the plant when flowering is induced. Fruits quality is determined mainly by the sugar content and acidity and varies considerably according to weather conditions and the fertiliser applied. Schematically, nitrogen nutrition determines weight and potassium nutrition determines quality. The pineapple is in fact a compound fruit with very heterogeneous features as the base is always at a more developed stage than the upper part. Pineapple is not a climacteric fruit and post-harvest evolution consists mainly of a gradual loss of its qualities. This loss should be kept to a minimum in the packing and transport chain when the fruit is sold fresh. Transport and marketing should be fast with no break in the cold chain. Fruits for processing should be handled as quickly as possible.

'Smooth Cayenne' was for a long time practically the only variety exported fresh and canned. The Hawaiian hybrid 'MD-2' took over its position on the fresh pineapple market, mainly as a result of its extraordinary capacity for withstanding cold and transport. The robustness of this fruit after harvesting was hitherto unknown and is opening up new prospects in the breeding of new varieties by hybridisation. Other varieties with good taste qualities are preferred on domestic markets but do not keep at all well: 'Perola' in Brazil and 'Queen' in Asia and the Indian Ocean.

Honey Gold
Fruit shape: cylindrical or slightly
Fruit colour: dark green
becoming yellow
Fruit eye diameter:
Fruit eye profile: flat
Flesh colour: yellow
Flesh firmness: medium
Flesh texture: smooth
Weight without crown:
900 g
Height without crown:
151 mm
Diameter: 102 mm
°Brix : between 14.4
and 18.8
Acidity (meq%ml):
between 6.7 and 13.3
Sugar/acid ratio:
between 1.65 and 2.14
Flesh maturity
homogeneity from the bottom to the
top: with a slight gradient
Agronomic potential: moderate
yielding. More slow growing than
Smooth Cayenne
Susceptibility: susceptible to core rot,
susceptible to Phytophthora,
susceptible to soil pests
Post-harvest potential: good,
susceptible to internal browning
Observations: very aromatic,
refreshing taste, long shelf life, very
attractive shell

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