Mango quality assessment manual

A guide to assessing the post-harvest quality of Australian mangoes

Rowland Holmes, Peter Hofman and Leigh Barker

Quality assessment is essential for determining what the customer is receiving, the practices in the supply chain where quality is compromised, and what improvements are required at each point in the chain to meet customer requirements. Improvements in quality cannot be made unless quality is assessed.

Depending on requirements, fruit quality may be measured at any stage of ripeness or at any point in the supply chain (e.g. hard green, sprung, prior to dispatch from a commercial ripener or ‘at eating’ ripe). This manual provides a standard method for detailed assessment of external and internal quality of mangoes, for use by both commercial and scientific personnel. It is a tool to improve communication about mango quality between members of the supply chain—from the farm through to retail shelf. It provides a common language to describe and assess mango quality. It describes quality characteristics, and defects and disorders (collectively called ‘defects’ from now on) that are present before harvest (called ‘field defects’), and that appear during harvest and as fruit ripen during distribution to consumers (called ‘harvest and post-harvest defects’).

The defects have been categorized into two groups: common and less common defects. Descriptions and possible causes are presented for all defects. Photographs illustrating three severity levels are presented for the common defects, while one
typical photograph is presented for the less common defects. External defects that are usually graded out at the time of packing are also illustrated. Severity rating scales are presented for each defect. The tolerable severity level for each quality grade will be determined by the customer (packhouse, agent, retailer or consumer) depending on their needs.

This manual is generic in focus. Many of the quality characteristics and defects described are found in most cultivars such as Kensington Pride, R2E2, B74, Keitt and Honey Gold.
Many defects have been reported in mango fruit. In this manual, descriptive names have been used (e.g. pink spot) rather than naming the defect by what is assumed to have caused it (e.g. mango scale). Attaching a causal name to a defect can lead to confusion—several conditions can cause the same defect. This method is also used to describe rots, where the location and appearance of the rot is used as the name (e.g. stem end rot versus body rots), rather than the disease itself (e.g. anthracnose). This is the best alternative for describing rots when facilities and labour are not available to identify pathogens.

Well understood and accepted names have been retained to avoid confusion.

This manual has been developed on the basis that quality is determined by what is seen at the time of assessment. Thus, fruit acceptability is decided by what is visible at the assessment time, not whether fruit will still be edible, for example, two days later. 

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