Effect of Storage Temperature on Fruit Ripening in Three Kiwifruit Cultivars
William Olubero Asiche1**, Oscar Witere Mitalo1**, Yuka Kasahara1, Yasuaki Tosa1,
Eric Gituma Mworia2, Koichiro Ushijima1, Ryohei Nakano1 and Yasutaka Kubo1*
1Graduate School of Environmental and Life Science, Okayama University, 700-8530 Okayama, Japan
2Meru University of Science and Technology, 972-60200 Meru, Kenya
The responses of three kiwifruit cultivars, Actinidia chinensis ‘Sanuki Gold’, A. chinensis ‘Rainbow Red’, and
A. deliciosa ‘Hayward’ to various storage temperatures (0, 5, 10, 15 and 20°C) for 8 weeks were investigated.
The rate of fruit which initiated ethylene production due to rot development increased with increases in
storage temperature. Early-maturing cultivars, ‘Rainbow Red’ and ‘Sanuki Gold’ fruit stored at 5, 10, and
15°C showed drastic softening and a decrease in titratable acidity (TA) to an edible level within 4 weeks
without detectable ethylene production, whereas fruit stored at 0 and 20°C maintained high firmness and TA
even after 8 weeks unless they were infected with rot. A late-maturing cultivar, ‘Hayward’ fruit stored at 5 and
10°C softened more rapidly than when stored at 0, 15, or 20°C. Treatment with 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-
MCP) did not suppress the low temperature modulated fruit ripening in any cultivars, indicating its
independence from ethylene. These results suggest that ‘Sanuki Gold’ and ‘Rainbow Red’ are more sensitive
to low temperatures compared to ‘Hayward’ and the sensitivity is involved in the determination of storage life
and how early the fruit matures on the vine.
Key Words: early-maturing cultivar, late-maturing cultivar, low-temperature storage, rot incidence.
The plant hormone ethylene initiates ripening-
associated events in kiwifruit, such as increased respira-
tion, softening, reduction in acidity, conversion of
starch to sugar, and aroma development as it is a cli-
macteric fruit (Antunes et al., 2000; Mworia et al.,
2010). Kiwifruit has been believed to be extremely sen-
sitive to ethylene, which accelerates ripening (Ritenour
et al., 1999; Yin et al., 2010). The presence of ethylene
in the storage room shortens kiwifruit storage life and
hence, it is a major challenge during long-term storage
(Pranamornkith et al., 2012). Thus, the main areas of
investigation into how to extend kiwifruit storage life
are ethylene elimination and low temperature control
(Koukounaras and Sfakiotakis, 2007).
In kiwifruit, major postharvest diseases are soft rot
caused by Botryoshaeria spp. and Phomopsis spp. and
stem-end rot by Diaporthe actinidia, which are epiphyt-
Received; June 16, 2016. Accepted; September 13, 2016.
First Published Online in J-STAGE on January 14, 2017.
This work was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific
Research (grant no. 24380023, no. 16H04873) from the Japan Society
for the Promotion of Science, Japan.
* Corresponding author (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
** These authors contributed equally to this work
ic at harvest, and penetrate inside the fruit during stor-
age (Kinugawa, 2000). Once the pathogenic fungus
invades a single fruit, it induces ethylene biosynthesis
that affects other surrounding fruit (Yano and
Hasegawa, 1993). Therefore, in order to understand the
ripening physiology and evaluate the storage potential
of kiwifruit, especially at room temperature, we have to
eliminate the effects of disease-induced ethylene.
1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP), a synthetic cyclic
olefin that is used to extend storage life in many climac-
teric fruit, inhibits ethylene action through interaction
with ethylene receptors (Sisler and Serek, 1997). Pre-
storage treatment with 1-MCP significantly delays the
increase in ethylene production and softening of
‘Hayward’ fruit during their shelf life at room tempera-
ture, after short- and medium-term cold storage
(Koukounaras and Sfakiotakis, 2007). In kiwifruit,
‘Bartlett’ pears and ‘Charantais’ melons, fruit treated
with 1-MCP exhibited significant extension of storage
and shelf life (Asiche et al., 2016; Nishiyama et al.,
2007; Villalobos-acuña et al., 2011). In this study, we
used 1-MCP treatment and spatial isolation to eliminate
the effects of ethylene produced by adjoining diseased
Storage temperature plays a pivotal role in fruit me-
tabolism during long-term storage, causing changes in
This article is an Advance Online Publication of the authors’ corrected proof. Note that minor changes may be made before final version publication.
The Horticulture Journal Preview
e Japanese Society for
© 2017 The Japanese Society for Horticultural Science (JSHS), All rights reserved.
physical and chemical attributes and in the aroma com-
position of various fruits (Antunes and Sfakiotakis,
2002; Antunes et al., 2000; Ritenour et al., 1999). The
kiwifruit industry utilizes a cold storage temperature of
0–4°C to slow down the ripening process and extend
fruit life (Arpaia et al., 1987; Pranamornkith et al.,
2012). Low temperatures generally inhibit microbial
growth and suppress metabolic changes, thus maintain-
ing fruit quality during storage (Wang and Wang,
The genus Actinidia consists of 55 species and 76
taxa native to Asia, including a wide array of cultivars
(Kim et al., 2009; Thompson et al., 2000; Wang and
Gleave, 2012). Actinidia deliciosa ‘Hayward’ and
A. chinensis ‘Hort16A’ are widely commercialized
kiwifruit cultivars, and many other novel cultivars have
been introduced and grown commercially worldwide
(Kim et al., 2009). In Japan, A. chinensis ‘Sanuki Gold’
and A. chinensis ‘Rainbow Red’ are new cultivars gain-
ing commercial prominence with the most notable fruit
attributes being smooth skin and a high soluble solids
content (SSC). However, these cultivars have a relative-
ly short storage life compared to A. deliciosa
‘Hayward’. ‘Sanuki Gold’, bred in Kagawa, Japan, is a
tetraploid (4n) with large fruit size (200 g), brown skin,
golden yellow flesh, and high SSC (16%), whereas
‘Rainbow Red’ (2n) has green, smooth skin with red
concentric rings, weighs 100 g, and has an extremely
high SSC (18%) (Mworia et al., 2010; Nishiyama et al.,
2008). ‘Hayward’ is medium-sized (120 g) and has
hairy skin and a lower SSC (14%) than the other two
cultivars. ‘Sanuki Gold’ and ‘Rainbow Red’ are early-
maturing types harvested in early October and late
September, respectively, in contrast to ‘Hayward’,
which is a late-maturing type harvested in early
November. The most important postharvest disparity
between the cultivars is storage life; ‘Hayward’ can be
stored for up to 6 months (Arpaia et al., 1987), whereas
‘Sanuki Gold’ and ‘Rainbow Red’ can be stored for
only 1 or 2 months even at low temperature. Thus, it
will be useful to study ‘Sanuki Gold’ and ‘Rainbow
Red’ in order to determine the physiological differences
among cultivars and to develop appropriate methods for
Our previous research on the kiwifruit A. chinensis
‘Sanuki Gold’ showed that fruit stored at 5°C ripened
faster than fruit stored at room temperature, accompa-
nied by elevated expression of specific ripening-
associated genes, encoding cell wall-modifying
enzymes, carbohydrate metabolism, and transcription
factors in an ethylene-independent manner when effects
of disease-induced ethylene was eliminated (Mworia
et al., 2012). Furthermore, during low-temperature stor-
age, repeated application of 1-MCP failed to suppress
changes in firmness and titratable acidity. It was con-
cluded that exposure to low temperature accelerated
ripening of ‘Sanuki Gold’ kiwifruit. There is little infor-
mation on the impact of prolonged storage under vari-
ous storage temperature regimes in different kiwifruit
cultivars. The objectives of our study were to assess the
effect of different storage temperatures (0, 5, 10, 15,
and 20°C) on development of ripening rot and ripening
characteristics in ethylene-free conditions using three
kiwifruit cultivars ‘Sanuki Gold’, ‘Rainbow Red’, and
Materials and Methods
A. chinensis ‘Sanuki Gold’ and A. chinensis
‘Rainbow Red’ fruit were obtained from a commercial
orchard in Kagawa, Japan. ‘Sanuki Gold’ fruit were
harvested on October 5, 2011 while ‘Rainbow Red’
fruit were harvested on September 27, 2011.
A. deliciosa ‘Hayward’ fruit were harvested from the
experimental orchard at Okayama University, Japan on
November 7, 2011. Kiwifruit were immediately trans-
ported to a postharvest laboratory at Okayama Univer-
sity, Japan where they were sorted to obtain fruit of
uniform size and without defects or blemishes.
Ethylene and fruit rot screening
To monitor for disease infections, ethylene produc-
tion of all fruit was measured individually at harvest
and a few fruit were found to be producing ethylene.
These fruit were set aside and monitored at room tem-
perature for a few days. Shortly thereafter, rot symp-
toms developed, indicating that the initiation of
ethylene production was due to fruit rot. Therefore, we
decided to conduct strict ethylene and fruit rot screen-
ing (twice a week) to remove the effects of disease-
induced ethylene during the entire experimental period.
Once ethylene production >0.02 nL·g−1·h−1 was de-
tected, the fruit were transferred to a separate room and
monitored at room temperature. Ethylene measurements
were conducted by incubating individual fruit in a 0.4 L
container. After 1 h, 1 mL of headspace gas was with-
drawn and injected into a gas chromatograph (Model-
GC8 CMPF; Shimadzu, Kyoto, Japan) equipped with a
flame ionization detector (set at 200°C) and an acti-
vated alumina column (ϕ 4 mm × 1 m) set at 80°C
(Mworia et al., 2010).
Treatments and storage conditions
Fruit at the commercial harvesting stage were stored
spatially separated (5 cm apart) in order to avoid effects
of disease-induced ethylene. The experimental design
consisted of control fruit (CON), 1-MCP, and five tem-
perature regimes (0, 5, 10, 15, and 20°C). Treatment
with 1-MCP was conducted twice a week throughout
the duration of storage by exposing fruit to 5 μL·L−1 of
1-MCP (SmartFreshTM, Rohm and Hass, Philadelphia,
PA, USA) for 12 h, according to Mworia et al. (2010,
2W. O. Asiche, O. W. Mitalo, Y. Kasahara, Y. Tosa, E. G. Mworia, K. Ushijima, R. Nakano and Y. Kubo
Evaluation of fruit quality indices
Fruit firmness (outer pericarp and core), SSC, and
TA were determined at week 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 using 5
biological replications. Fruit were exposed to room
temperature for 2 h before assessment. Fruit skin was
sliced off from two opposite cheeks along the equatorial
region and outer pericarp firmness was subsequently
measured using a penetrometer (model SMT-T-50;
Toyo Baldwin, Tokyo, Japan) fitted with a 5-mm
plunger (Asiche et al., 2016). The SSC of the fruit juice
was determined using a digital Atago PR-1 refrac-
tometer (Atago Co. Ltd, Tokyo, Japan) and expressed
as Brix (%). TA was determined by titrating the extract
against 0.1N NaOH and then expressed as percentage
citric acid equivalents.
Fruit rot incidence at different storage temperatures
For all three cultivars and storage temperatures, fruit
that initiated ethylene production were isolated and
monitored in a separate room as described in the previ-
ous section. These fruit increased ethylene production
and developed visible rot symptoms within a few days.
As shown in Figure 1, the highest percentage of
ethylene-producing fruit was observed during storage at
20°C. In fact, ‘Rainbow Red’ CON fruit and ‘Sanuki
Gold’ 1-MCP fruit at 20°C could only be stored for 4
and 6 weeks respectively since most of the fruit pro-
duced ethylene (Fig. 1A, B). Notably, storage of fruit at
lower temperatures (0 and 5°C) significantly reduced
fruit rot incidence in all the three cultivars with rot inci-
dence being virtually absent at 0 and 5°C. Nevertheless,
fruit without ethylene production did not develop rot
symptoms throughout the experimental period and were
considered healthy fruit. These fruit were used for fur-
ther analysis of ripening characteristics.
Changes in fruit firmness
Figure 2 shows the outer pericarp firmness of the
three kiwifruit cultivars for the CON and 1-MCP fruit.
The outer pericarp firmness of ‘Rainbow Red’ CON
and 1-MCP fruit stored at 5, 10, and 15°C drastically
decreased from 37 N at harvest to 2–6 N at 4 weeks
(Fig. 2A, B). However, fruit stored at 0 and 20°C main-
tained high firmness of approximately 35 N and 20 N,
respectively for both the CON and 1-MCP groups after
4 weeks. ‘Sanuki Gold’ CON and 1-MCP fruit at 5, 10,
and 15°C also showed a sharp decrease in outer peri-
carp firmness from ~30 N at harvest to ~4 N at 4 weeks
(Fig. 2C, D). At this time point, however, both ‘Sanuki
Gold’ CON and 1-MCP fruit at 0 and 20°C still had a
higher firmness of approximately 25 N. Conversely,
‘Hayward’ fruit exhibited slower softening of the outer
pericarp compared to the other cultivars. As shown in
Figure 2E and F, both ‘Hayward’ CON and 1-MCP
fruit at 5 and 10°C decreased in terms of outer pericarp
firmness at a faster rate (after 4 weeks) than fruit at 0,
15, and 20°C. However, the firmness of ‘Hayward’ fruit
at 5 and 10°C even after 8 weeks was higher than that
of ‘Rainbow Red’ and ‘Sanuki Gold’ at 4 weeks.
Changes in SSC and TA
Figure 3 shows the changes in SSC in the three kiwi-
fruit cultivars during storage. ‘Rainbow Red’ fruit stor-
ed at 5, 10, 15, and 20°C in both the CON and 1-MCP
groups showed a more rapid increase in SSC, achieving
>15% by 4 weeks (Fig. 3A, B). However, the SSC of
both CON and 1-MCP fruit at 0°C showed a slower in-
crease in SSC, achieving <15% by 8 weeks. Converse-
ly, ‘Sanuki Gold’ CON and 1-MCP fruit at 0 and 20°C
showed the least increase in SSC, to 13% after 4 weeks,
whereas fruit at 5, 10, and 15°C showed a consistent in-
crease in SSC reaching a maximum of approximately
Fruit producing ethylene (%)
0 2 4 6 8
Fruit producing ethylene (%)
Fruit producing ethylene (%)
Storage duraon (Weeks)
A B C
Fig. 1. Effect of storage temperature and 1-MCP treatment on percentage of ethylene-producing fruit (rot incidence) in ‘Rainbow Red’, ‘Sanuki
Gold’, and ‘Hayward’. All fruit that initiated ethylene production developed rot symptoms within a few days after transfer to a separate
room. Therefore, the percentage of ethylene-producing fruit is identical to fruit rot incidence. Treatment with 1-MCP was performed twice a
week during the experimental period.
Hort. J. Preview 3
‘Sanuki Gold’ (CON)
Storage duraon (Weeks)
‘Rainbow Red’ (CON)
‘Rainbow Red’ (1-MCP)
‘Sanuki Gold’ (1-MCP)
02 4 6 8
Fig. 2. Effect of storage temperature and 1-MCP treatment on outer pericarp firmness of ‘Rainbow Red’, ‘Sanuki Gold’, and ‘Hayward’ fruit.
Treatment with 1-MCP was performed twice a week during the experimental period. Each data point is composed of 5 fruit with SE bars.
Brix (%) Brix (%)
Storage duraon (Weeks)
‘Rainbow Red’ (CON)
0 2 4 6 8
‘Rainbow Red’ (1-MCP)
‘Sanuki Gold’ (CON)
‘Sanuki Gold’ (1-MCP)
0 2 4 6 8
A C E
B D E
Fig. 3. Effect of storage temperature and 1-MCP on SSC of ‘Rainbow Red’, ‘Sanuki Gold’, and ‘Hayward’ fruit. Treatment with 1-MCP was
performed twice a week during the entire experimental period. Each data point is composed of 5 fruit with SE bars.
4W. O. Asiche, O. W. Mitalo, Y. Kasahara, Y. Tosa, E. G. Mworia, K. Ushijima, R. Nakano and Y. Kubo
15% after 6 weeks (Fig. 3C, D). For ‘Hayward’ CON
and 1-MCP fruit, the SSC increased gradually in all
temperature regimes, attaining a maximum of approxi-
mately 14% within 8 weeks, although the rate was
slower in fruit at 0°C (Fig. 3E, F).
The TA of ‘Rainbow Red’ CON and 1-MCP fruit at
5, 10, and 15°C decreased more rapidly than that of
fruit at 0 and 20°C to below 1% within 4 weeks
(Fig. 4A, B). A similar trend was observed in the TA of
both ‘Sanuki Gold’ CON and 1-MCP fruit, with TA
rates decreasing more rapidly in fruit at 5 and 10°C
than in fruit at 0 and 20°C (Fig. 4C, D). ‘Hayward’ fruit
showed a higher TA level than the other two cultivars
both at harvest and after 8 weeks, as well as a slower
rate of decrease in TA during storage (Fig. 4E, F). After
8 weeks of storage, the TA level of ‘Hayward’ 1-MCP
fruit was lower at 5 and 10°C than at 15 and 20°C.
Ethylene-dependent and -independent fruit ripening in
The plant hormone ethylene is responsible for ripen-
ing in climacteric fruit, causing changes in fruit attri-
butes such as softening, increases in SSC, and reduction
in TA (Mworia et al., 2010; Tacken et al., 2010). Exog-
enous application of ethylene or propylene, an ethylene
analogue, accelerated kiwifruit ripening to within 5
days at room temperature, accompanied by endogenous
ethylene production (Antunes et al., 2000; Mworia
et al., 2010). Conversely, application of 1-MCP, an
ethylene perception inhibitor, suppressed ethylene-
controlled ripening in kiwifruit even after initiation of
ripening, as also observed in melons, pears, apples, and
tomatoes (Boquete et al., 2004; Ergun et al., 2005;
Nakatsuka et al., 1997; Nishiyama et al., 2007; Pre-
Aymard et al., 2003). It is believed that kiwifruit are
highly sensitive to exogenous ethylene (Arpaia et al.,
1987; Michell, 1990). Thus, in the present study, we
conducted frequent screening to remove ethylene-
producing fruit. These fruit developed rot symptoms
within a few days, so ethylene was attributed to disease
stress (Fig. 1). Fruit rot in kiwifruit is mainly caused by
Botryoshaeria sp. and Phomopsis sp. (Kinugawa,
2000), which infect fruit on the vine and are manifested
during storage especially at high temperatures and
under moist conditions. According to Sfakiotakis et al.
(1997), kiwifruit do not start autocatalytic ethylene pro-
duction at harvest unless the fruit sustain mechanical
damage or pathogen attack. The present results agree
with this finding since healthy ‘Rainbow Red’, ‘Sanuki
Gold’, and ‘Hayward’ kiwifruit did not produce ethyl-
ene throughout the storage period at the various temper-
atures. As previously reported by Yano and Hasegawa
(1993), ethylene evolution in healthy kiwifruit is stimu-
lated by ethylene stemming from diseased fruit packed
in the same container or by exogenous ethylene gas.
Storage duraon (Weeks)
Titratable acids (%) Titratable acids (%)
‘Rainbow Red’ (CON)
‘Sanuki Gold’ (CON)
‘Rainbow Red’ (1-MCP)
‘Sanuki Gold’ (1-MCP)
Fig. 4. Effect of storage temperature and 1-MCP on TA of ‘Rainbow Red’, ‘Sanuki Gold’, and ‘Hayward’ fruit. Treatment with 1-MCP was
performed twice a week during the experimental period. Each data point is composed of 5 fruit with SE bars.
Hort. J. Preview 5
Based on this, fruit producing ethylene as a result of
disease infection were isolated through strict and fre-
quent screening to avoid contamination and ensure that
fruit sampled at various temperatures were completely
ethylene-free. This procedure resulted in a storage life
of more than 4 weeks for fruit stored at 20°C, which is
much longer than that previously observed in other
studies (Kim et al., 1999; Schotsmans et al., 2008;
Taglienti et al., 2009).
According to our previous study, ‘Sanuki Gold’ kiwi-
fruit with undetectable ethylene production exhibited
low temperature-modulated ripening whereby fruit stor-
ed at 5°C ripened faster than fruit at 25°C (Mworia
et al., 2012). Treatment of fruit stored at 5°C with 1-
MCP did not inhibit the ripening process indicating that
‘Sanuki Gold’ fruit ripened in response to low tempera-
ture independent of ethylene. In the present study,
healthy ‘Rainbow Red’ and ‘Sanuki Gold’ fruit with
undetectable ethylene production ripened faster during
storage at 5, 10, and 15°C compared to fruit at 0 and
20°C (Figs. 2 and 4). Similarly, ‘Hayward’ fruit with
undetectable ethylene production ripened faster at 5 and
10°C than fruit at 0, 15, and 20°C. Repeated 1-MCP
treatment did not suppress ripening since both CON and
1-MCP groups depicted a similar ripening pattern at the
respective storage temperatures. Therefore, the present
results suggest that kiwifruit ripening is modulated by
temperature independent of ethylene and the effect of
temperature on kiwifruit ripening is manifested in all
cultivars. In the absence of ethylene, the rate of ripen-
ing in healthy kiwifruit is mainly dependent on the stor-
age temperature. Low-temperature-induced ripening
has also been reported in other fruit species such as
pears, apples, and plums, but this is assumed to be fa-
cilitated by ethylene biosynthesis due to cold stress,
contrary to what we observed in kiwifruit (Candan
et al., 2008; El-Sharkawy et al., 2003; Kim et al., 1999;
Tacken et al., 2010). Furthermore, some fruit attributes
are still manifested even when ethylene biosynthesis is
suppressed. Experiments on transgenic apple fruit with
suppressed 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid
synthase (ACS) and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic
acid oxidase (ACO) genes showed that sugar and acid
composition/accumulation are not exclusively under the
control of ethylene (Dandekar et al., 2004). In banana
fruit, accumulation of sugar after propylene treatment
was not inhibited by 1-MCP once the ripening process
had been initiated (Golding et al., 1998), and in the can-
taloupe melon, suppression of the ACO gene did not in-
hibit sugar accumulation and loss of acidity, indicating
that both ethylene-dependent and -independent regula-
tion coexist during climacteric fruit ripening (Pech
et al., 2008).
Sensitivity to low temperature reflects cultivar differ-
ences in kiwifruit
In previous studies, it has been demonstrated that
different kiwifruit cultivars exhibit varying storability
during low temperature storage. ‘Sanuki Gold’ and
‘Rainbow Red’ kiwifruit are known to be highly perish-
able with a storage potential of only 1–2 months even at
low temperature (Mworia et al., 2012; Nishiyama,
2007). Conversely, ‘Hayward’ kiwifruit are renowned
for their longer storage potential of about 4–6 months
(Pranamornkith et al., 2012). In the present study,
‘Rainbow Red’, ‘Sanuki Gold’, and ‘Hayward’ kiwi-
fruit exhibited cultivar differences in ripening pattern
during storage at 0, 5, 10, 15, and 20°C. ‘Rainbow Red’
and ‘Sanuki Gold’ fruit exhibited a faster reduction in
firmness without any ethylene production during stor-
age at 5, 10, and 15°C reaching the lowest firmness
within 4 weeks compared to fruit at 0 and 20°C (Fig. 2).
On the other hand, ‘Hayward’ fruit softening was faster
at 5 and 10°C compared to fruit at 0, 15, and 20°C.
Thus, our results suggest that the major difference be-
tween the highly perishable cultivars (‘Rainbow Red’
and ‘Sanuki Gold’) and the more hardy cultivar
(‘Hayward’) is the response to a 15°C storage tempera-
ture. ‘Rainbow Red’ and ‘Sanuki Gold’ fruit stored at
15°C ripened faster than fruit stored at 20°C, whereas
‘Hayward’ fruit stored at 15°C showed a delayed ripen-
ing pattern similar to that of fruit stored at 20°C.
Furthermore, the softening of ‘Hayward’ fruit at 5 and
10°C took a longer time of 8 weeks compared to only 4
weeks exhibited by ‘Rainbow Red’ and ‘Sanuki Gold’
at 5, 10, and 15°C (Figs. 2 and 3). In commercial pro-
duction, kiwifruit is harvested at the pre-climacteric
stage when fruit softening has not commenced. In
Japan, ‘Sanuki Gold’ and ‘Rainbow Red’ fruit are har-
vested in early October and late September, respective-
ly, when the minimum field temperature is
approximately 15°C. ‘Hayward’ fruit are harvested in
early November when the minimum field temperature
is approximately 10°C. Thus, the present study suggests
that the differences in maturity dates between ‘Rainbow
Red’/‘Sanuki Gold’ fruit and ‘Hayward’ fruit can be at-
tributed to different sensitivities to temperature.
Implications of storage temperature in kiwifruit culti-
Commercially, harvested kiwifruit are usually stored
at low temperatures of about 0–4°C to prolong their
storage life (Arpaia et al., 1987). However, our present
study shows that kiwifruit ripening occurred faster at
lower storage temperatures (5, 10, and 15°C for
‘Rainbow Red’ and Sanuki Gold’ kiwifruit, and 5 and
10°C for ‘Hayward’ kiwifruit) compared to higher stor-
age temperatures. However, it was peculiar that for all
cultivars, fruit ripening was suppressed at 0°C in a sim-
ilar manner to 20°C. The delayed fruit ripening at 0°C
can be attributed to a slowness of response, indicating
that in as much as 0°C provides physiological stimuli to
induce ripening, it also strongly suppresses the metabol-
ic processes of ripening. Arpaia et al. (1986) showed
6W. O. Asiche, O. W. Mitalo, Y. Kasahara, Y. Tosa, E. G. Mworia, K. Ushijima, R. Nakano and Y. Kubo
that in ‘Hayward’, temperature ranging from 0°C to
10°C is a crucial factor that leads to softening in
ethylene-free conditions. Similar conclusions were
echoed by Marsh et al. (2004), who showed that
‘Hayward’ fruit stored at 4 and 10°C softened faster
than fruit stored at 0°C. Our present study shows that
for long-term storage, a temperature of either 0°C or
20°C is most effective in extending storage life with a
reduced ripening rate. However, the high prevalence of
fruit rot at 20°C makes it unsuitable for long-term stor-
age of kiwifruit. Therefore, storage at 0°C seems to be
most effective in delaying ripening and fruit rot, provid-
ing a marked extension of storage life.
Storage at 5 and 10°C provided ripe, edible fruit
within 4 and 8 weeks in ‘Rainbow Red’ and ‘Sanuki
Gold’ respectively without ethylene production.
‘Hayward’ fruit can be stored for more than 8 weeks at
low temperature since the fruit were firmer with high
acidity even after 8 weeks at 5 and 10°C. Since con-
sumer preference for kiwifruit is based on fruit firm-
ness, SSC, and acidity, ethylene treatment is usually
performed after storage to ensure fruit show uniform
ripening characteristics before being brought to market
(Boquete et al., 2004; MacRae et al., 1990). The present
study shows that for ‘Rainbow Red’ and ‘Sanuki Gold’
fruit, 5 or 10°C can be recommended for storage peri-
ods of 4 or 8 weeks without ethylene treatment before
In conclusion, our results show that the ripening rates
of kiwifruit cultivars are modulated by storage tempera-
ture. Furthermore, kiwifruit sensitivity/response to low
temperature is closely related to differences in the stor-
age potential of the cultivars at low temperature and
how early or late the fruit matures on the vine.
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