Influence of delayed cooling on quality of bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) stored in a controlled chamber
Improper postharvest handling, including delaying cooling, is a big concern for maintaining the freshness of fruit and vegetables in the postharvest supply chain. The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of short delays in cooling on some important quality parameters such as physiological weight loss, firmness, total soluble solids (TSS), and color (L*, h°, and C*) values of bell peppers stored in a controlled chamber. Bell peppers treated with three different treatments showed a gradual physiological weight loss of 1.46%, 3.18%, and 3.14% after a storage period of 15 days with: immediate storage (IS) after harvest in a controlled chamber, delaying storage (DS), leaving bell pepper without cover for one day, and under cover (DSC) separately in a greenhouse and then storing them in the controlled chamber, respectively. Over the storage period, slower firmness reduction (19.88%) of the IS treated bell peppers was observed compared to other bell pepper samples with delayed cooling. Bell peppers that underwent IS treatment showed lower changes in TSS (°Bx) values (6.89 to 7.24) compared to other treatments during the storage period. Fewer changes in color (L*, h°, and C*) values were found with IS treated bell peppers. Overall changes in the assessed quality parameters of bell pepper samples were slower with IS treatment than delayed cooling treatments throughout the storage period. This study provides significant information on the handling of harvested bell pepper in a favorable environment before transportation to processing and storage centers.