Pre-harvest Fruit Bagging Technology for Apple
Authors: Dr. R.R. Sharma
Principal Scientist (Hort.)
Division of Food Science & Postharvest Technology
ICAR-IARI, New Delhi-110012

Apple is considered as the most important fruit crop of the world. In India, it is grown in hilly states like Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttrakhand, northern-eastern states and to some extent in hilly regions of south India. From hills, the fruits are transported to plains for storage or marketing. Red coloured apple are preferred in the market as red colour is the central point of attraction of the consumers. At lower hills, colour development in apples is not adequate, and hence majority of the farmers use ethrel (2-Chloroethyl Phosphonic Acid) as pre-harvest foliar spray for colour enhancement of the fruits. Ethrel, although, helps in development of attractive red colour in apple fruits but it causes several adverse effects, such as, it enhances fruit drop, pre-mature leaf-fall, besides the harvested fruits are of poor keeping-quality. Further, ethrel-treated apples need to be harvested at a stretch to get desirable price in the market. Moreover, the residues of ethrel, if any, may be injurious to human health. Further, during storage, apples suffer from several diseases and disorders for which various chemicals and pesticides are used, which are also injurious to human health. Hence, efforts world over have been started to find out some non-chemical approaches to reduce the incidence of diseases and disorders in fruits including apple. Fruit bagging has been proved to be very useful practice in studying anthocyanin synthesis pathway in apple and reducing the incidence of insect-pests, sun scorching, fruit splitting in several other fruits. Bags of different colours have given different results in fruits crops. Considering these points in mind, Scientists of the Division of Post Harvest Technology, Indian Agricultural Rsearch Institute, New Delhi has standardized fruit bagging technology for apple.

The Technology
In this technology, apples should be bagged on-the-tree with spun-bounded light-yellow, single layered coloured bags. In this technology, individual or group of 2-3 apples are covered with bags about 45-60 days before the expected date of harvesting. During this period, all routine cultural practices are carried out. The bags should be removed atleast 3-5 days before the expected date of harvesting

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About Author / Additional Info:
Working on production and postharvest management of fruits and vegetables for the last 32 years. I have published more that 130 research articles in journals of international repute. Authored 12 books, 250 popular articles and received several awards and honours of ICAR and Govt. of India