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News from France. Ethephon on pinneapple: News about uses and regulation

Soler A., Marie Alphonsine P.A., Govindin J.C., Fournier P.. 2007. Pineapple News (14) : p. 16-18.

The use of ethephon in pineapple was proposed in the 1970s by CIRAD agronomists in Martinique and Côte d'Ivoire to reduce the time between the harvest of early ripe fruits and the harvest of the late ripe fruits in a pineapple field and to get a more homogeneous external colour of the fruits (Audinay, 1970; Poignant, 1971). Ethephon does not actually colour the fruit, it rather degreens the shell of the fruit by destruction of chlorophyll. The closer the fruit is to natural ripening, the more efficient is the degreening. If correctly applied at the right time, ethephon treatment does not reduce significantly the internal quality of the fruit. This technique drastically changed the management of the harvest because formerly the desired tonnage was harvested from many fields whereas with ethephon degreening the same tonnage could be obtained from only few fields. Few drawbacks to ethephon degreening have been identified as long as the application follows the recommendations (2 - 3 L ha-1 when ~1% of fruits begin to colour naturally). One drawback is that sometimes fruits are relatively insensitive to the treatment, for example when high levels of nitrogen have been applied during vegetative growth. This has generally a consequence, the farmer applies higher doses of ethephon, earlier (as many as 3 to 4 weeks before natural ripening sometimes). The result is fruit with poor quality, with a shorter shelf life, withered crowns after cold storage and fruit more sensitive to Internal Browning. With the development of new varieties and also the general evolution of customer sensitivity to the use of pesticides in agriculture, one could expect some changes in the use of ethephon. (Texte intégral)

Mots-clés : ananas comosus; martinique; france

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