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Introduction

Citrus fruits are originated in the tropical and sub tropical regions of south-east Asia, particularly India and China. India ranks sixth in the production of citrus fruit in the world. It occupies third position after mango and banana in the production of fruits in India. Orange (Mandarin or Santra), sweet orange (Mosambi, Malta or Satgudi) and lime/lemon are varieties of commercial importance. It has a very high content of vitamin C. Total production of citrus fruit in India is 7922.10 tonnes in 2011-12 which are give below:-

Production of citrus fruit in India in 2011-12

Sr. No.

Major States

Production

Share (%)

1

Andhra Pradesh

1886.90

23.82

2

Maharashtra

1268.00

16.01

3

Punjab

942.80

11.90

4

Madhya Pradesh

725.10

10.04

5

Gujarat

400.60

5.32

Recommended Varieties

  • Limes - 'Bearss' and 'Rangpur'
  • Sour Oranges - 'Bouquet de Fleurs' and 'Seville'
  • Lemons - 'Eureka' and 'Sun Gold'
  • Grapefruits - 'Red Blush' (pink flesh), 'Marsh Seedless' (white flesh) and 'Star Ruby' (red flesh)
  • Mandarins - 'Clementine' and 'Satsuma'
  • Tangelos - 'Minneola' and 'Orlando'
  • Sweet Oranges - 'Valencia' (Valencia), 'Ruby' (Blood) and 'Washington' (Navel)

Maturity Indices

The most commonly used index is peel colour. Fruits are ready for harvest if peel has a yellow orange colour on 75% or more of the fruit surface. Orange Colour on 75% or more. Internal quality signs of harvest maturity include total soluble solid contents (TSS), acidity and TSS/acid ratio of the juice. The juice should have a TSS of 8.5% or higher which can be determined by a hand held refractometer. The juice should have acidity 0.3-0.4% with TSS: Acid Ratio of 6.5 or higher.

Harvesting

Mandarins should be best harvested by using knife, shear or clipper. Mandarins should be harvested later in the day during 9:00AM-3:00PM because this reduces the incidence of rind discolouration. Most citrus fruits are ready to pick in winter, but the exact month depends on the type of citrus. In Mediterranean climates, oranges (Citrus sinensis) are picked from December through May. Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) harvest is from January to April. Limes (Citrus aurantifolia) and lemons (Citrus limon) ripen all year. Harvesting should be done during dry weather and transfer harvested fruits immediately to the shaded and cool place. For traditional methods, mandarins should be carefully twisted, jerked and pulled upward with a rotating movement of the wrist so that petiole may remain attached to the fruit. Branches left on the fruit should be cut off because this can puncture other fruits. The harvested fruit should be collected either into burlap padded collecting baskets or lined ventilated plastic field crates.

Limes should be harvested by carefully twisting and pulling the fruit from the tree so the button (calyx and disk) remains attached to the fruit. Stems left on the fruit at picking should be cut off in order to avoid puncture damage to adjacent fruit. Never shake the tree to harvest the fruit. Any fruit that falls to the ground is likely to be severely bruised and subject to postharvest decay. Ladders may be needed to facilitate harvesting of fruit borne on tall trees.

The harvested fruit should be carefully put into padded field crates, well ventilated plastic containers, or picking sacks equipped with a quick-opening bottom.

Packaging

The packaging material used for limes depends on the intended market destination. The most commonly used container for domestic market sales are large sacks often filled with more than 30 kg (66 lb) of fruit. Mesh sacks are also commonly used for export shipments of limes to Barbados. Sacks do not provide adequate protection against bruise damage and they cannot be stacked without causing compression injury to the fruit. Wooden crates provide much better protection to domestic marketed fruit. Export market destined fruit should be packed in strong, well-ventilated fibreboard cartons. The most common size cartons used for exporting limes contain 4.5, 9, or 18 kg (10, 20, or 40 lb) of fruit. All fruit within the carton should have a uniform appearance. Diphenyl treated pads are commonly put in export cartons to inhibit mould growth.


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