In an attempt to investigate the changes leading to the rapid post-harvest hardening of the white cultivars of Dioscorea dumetorum tubers, alterations in the plant cell wall constituents and mechanical properties of the tubers were monitored. A 4x2 factorial experiment with storage time (0, 24, 48 and 72 h) and storage conditions [cold room (4 _C, 85–100% RH) and tropical ambient (28 _C, 62–100% RH)] as variables were performed. Harvested tubers were stored for 24, 48 and 72 h under 4 and 28 _C. Changes in mechanical properties, acid and neutral detergent fibres, lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose contents were monitored. Mechanical properties comprising peak force (hardness) and curve areas (adhesiveness) increased rapidly from 1203.0–5816.5 g and 12.4214–29.2612 g, respectively, during the 72 h of storage at ambient conditions. Similarly, all the plant cell wall constituents evaluated increased to significant levels (P40.05) within the period. Peak force (hardness) values correlated positively (r=0.7829–0.9367, P40.05) with all the cell wall constituents investigated. Hardening of D. dumetorum was characterized by increased fibre levels and cell walls of the tuber. However, the rate of cell wall thickening varies with the storage time and storage temperature.
- Dioscorea dumetorum; Cell wall constituents; Mechanical properties; Post-harvest hardening
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