It refers to the attachment of final stage of biological function by a plant part or plant as a whole.
It is the particular stage in life of plant of fruit at which they attain maximum growth and size.
Good quality of fruits and vegetables are obtained when harvesting is done at the proper stage of maturity. It is the stage where any organ of the plant attains full growth and development. So it is the stage of fruit development beyond which no further growth take place. After maturity of any organ it starts its decline stage i.e. called as “Ripening”. Earlier the harvest, longer is the time of ripen. Greater the maturity, lesser are the number of days required for the fruit ripen. But the ripe fruits from early harvests and poor quality indicated by lower organoleptic ratings and with increasing maturity, quality improved. The maturity indices are also called as “Maturity Standards” or “Signs of Maturity”. Maturity signs help in judging maturity of fruits and vegetables. The signs are based on experience and skill and judgment. As the market value depends upon quality of the produce, the knowledge regarding maturity indices of right stage of harvest caries vital importance. Secondly shelf life of the produce in some fruits depends upon maturity stage of harvested produce.
There are five types of indices to judge the maturity of the fruit.
1. Visual means
2. Physical means
3. Chemical analysis
5. Physiological method.
1) Visual Means:
Skin colour, size, persistence of style portion, drying of outer leaf, drying whole plant body, change in smell or flavour, dropping down of ripe fruits.
2) Physical Means:
Fairness easy separation or abscission, specific gravity, weight of the fruit.
3) Chemical Analysis:
T.S.S , acids, Starch, sugar, etc.
Days for harvesting fruits from fruit set till maturity.
5) Physiological Method:
Respiration rate, internal ethylene evolution.
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