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Optimization of Environmental Parameters for Short-term Storage of Big Onions and Evaluation of the Feasibility of Controlled Environmental Storage

Authors:

RS Sabaragamuwa,

Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, LK
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DAN Dharmasena ,

Department of Agricultural Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, LK
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J Mannaperuma

Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, LK
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Abstract

The annual requirement of big onion in Sri Lanka is around 200,000 Metric tonnes and only about 25% is locally produced at present. Seasonal cultivation during April to September is mainly limited to dry zone areas of the country. About 30-50% postharvest losses are reported during short-term storage and sprouting and bulb rotting are the major causes of losses. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to study the present status of the onion postharvest handling, identify optimum storage conditions and analysis of the feasibility of providing those conditions for short-term storage. Primary and secondary data related to onion storage and marketing were gathered and analyzed to get information on postharvest handling, storage environment and marketing system. Storage behaviour of big onions under two temperatures: 25⁰C and 30⁰C and three RH conditions; 60%, 75% and 90% was studied using a locally fabricated environment control chamber. A complete randomized design was used for the experiment. Loss of weight and external quality parameters were studied. The rainy season coincided with the storage period developing high RH above 75%. Both the temperature and RH effects are significant at α =0.05 on the percentage losses but there is no interaction effect between these two factors. The difference in the weight reduction due to loss of moisture was significant under two temperatures and three RH conditions at α = 0.05. According to results 75% RH and 25⁰C temperature were found to be the best condition for storage. According to energy requirement estimation, the environmental control during storage is feasible.

Key words: Bulb rotting; RH; Short-term storage; Temperature

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/tar.v22i4.3786

TAR 2011; 22(4): 356-366

How to Cite: Sabaragamuwa, R., Dharmasena, D. & Mannaperuma, J., (2011). Optimization of Environmental Parameters for Short-term Storage of Big Onions and Evaluation of the Feasibility of Controlled Environmental Storage. Tropical Agricultural Research. 22(4), pp.356–366. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tar.v22i4.3786
Published on 13 Nov 2011.
Peer Reviewed

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