Ripening and postharvest storage of pawpaw

Douglas D. Archbold, Rumphan Koslanund, Kirk W. Pomper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


To facilitate the growth of a commercial pawpaw (Asimina triloba) industry, several problems with harvest and postharvest handling of fruit need to be resolved. Pawpaw fruit ripening is characterized by an increase in soluble solids content, flesh softening, increased volatile production, and a loss of green color intensity. Within 3 days after harvest, ethylene and respiratory climacteric peaks are clearly evident. Softening of fruit is due to the action of at least four enzymes, with the softening proceeding from the surface to the interior tissue. Fruit on a single tree can ripen over a 2-week period, creating labor problems. When immature fruit is harvested it does not ripen, even if treated with ethephon at 1000 mg.L-1 (ppm), but the use of commercially available growth regulators both pre- and postharvest warrants further study. Fruit soften very rapidly at room temperature after harvest and have a 2-to 4-day shelf life. However, we have stored pawpaw fruit for 1 month at 4°C (39.2°F) with little change in fruit firmness and fruit apparently continue normal ripening upon removal to ambient temperature. The optimum temperature and duration for holding fruit will need to be determined. Further extension in pawpaw storage life may be feasible with controlled or modified atmosphere storage. Although there are a number of practical problems with pawpaw harvest and postharvest storage that need to be addressed, we hope to develop recommendations for harvest and handling of fruit in the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-441
Number of pages3
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003


  • Asimina triloba
  • Kentucky banana

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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