Title : Post harvest losses practices and management of fruits and vegetables in some regions of Cameroon
The post-harvest quality of perishable produce changes rapidly due to the accelerated rate of respiration, transpiration and ripening. The objective of this study was to evaluate horticultural practices in two regions of Cameroon and to determine the effect of some edible coatings on the shelf life extension of eggplant, tomato and papaw fruits. Five composite coating formulations were evaluated, a NaCl 1% based formulation, an ash powder formulation, a groundnut oil’s formulation, a neem oil’s based formulation (with 1% neem oil’s and 2.5% glycerol), and a chitosan based formulation (with 1.5% chitosan and 2.5% glycerol). Whole fruits (eggplant, tomatoes and pawpaw) were coated with one of the composite coatings and air dried at room temperature for a period of 2 hours, transferred to preformed containers and stored at room temperatures (25°C) along with a control. Several physico-chemical parameters of fruits - shelf life duration, weight loss, titratable acidity and pH were evaluated during selected time intervals (five days). The control had a shelf life of 6, 8 and 6days,for tomato, eggplant and papaw fruits, respectively, whereas neem oil’s coated samples had a respective shelf a life of 17, 20, and 16 days, for tomato, eggplant and papaw fruits respectively. Overall, groundnut oil’s, neem oil’s and chitosan coated fruits had the best results in terms of shelf life, all being better than control.