Researchers investigating the causes of underskin browning (USB) on Honey Gold mangoes have found that spirt sap from mangoes harvested in the afternoon is more likely to cause the skin disorder than sap from mangoes harvested in the morning.
The ongoing research project by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries ‘Improving consumer appeal of Honey Gold mango by reducing underskin browning’ has been exploring ways to reduce the incidence of USB on the Honey Gold variety. Initial findings led researchers to examine ways to produce more robust fruit and they have since uncovered numerous findings that, while yet to be scientifically proven, could mean big changes for the industry.
Gavin Scurr, Managing Director of Pinata Farms said that the way mangoes are harvested and handled has fundamentally changed due to the project.
“Before the start of the project, our losses due to underskin browning were up to 20% of our Northern Territory crop. Since initiating the project, we have adopted the recommendations and have reduced our USB losses to below 1%. As well as harvesting at night, we have designed and built a harvest aid to carry fruit with conveyer belts to the baths due to the outcomes of this project.” Mr Scurr said.
USB is a mango skin disorder that appears as a bruise like symptom underneath the skin. While several Australian mango cultivars are susceptible to USB, Honey Gold is the most sensitive.
Some of these findings have been made through tests on abraded mango skin by applying small amounts of mango sap or by holding the fruit at below optimum temperatures to see at what points the fruit becomes susceptible to the disorder.
Researcher are now analysing the sap to find out what components cause the damage and plan to test whether these effects apply to other Australian cultivars in coming seasons.
This project, MG13016 Improving consumer appeal of Honey Gold mango by reducing underskin browning has been funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd with co-investment from Piñata Farms and funds from the Australian Government. Project partners include Tropical Horticulture Consulting and the University of Queensland.
Senior Principal Horticulturist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries