Technological Solutions for Success in Lemon Exportation

Postharvest treatments for lemon packing and commercialization. By Daniel Tormo, Technical Department of Citrosol

Soluciones tecnológicas para el éxito en la exportación de limón.jpg
26 April, 2024

Spain is the leading European producer of lemons and the world leader in fresh fruit exports. These markets have high quality and food safety requirements, and compliance with these demanding standards is the main driver of the commercial success of Spanish lemons. Citrosol is the leading company providing postharvest solutions to the lemon export sector. We work hand in hand with our clients, providing them with all our know-how, the best technical service, and personalized advice to ensure that lemons reach the end consumer with the highest quality, thereby helping to combat food waste tangibly.

The current campaign is characterized by high production of both Fino and Verna lemon cultivars, with the latter about to begin its campaign overlapping with the last stocks of Primofiori. In a few weeks, imported lemons from the southern hemisphere will add to this context of oversupply. Faced with such a demanding and competitive scenario, the differences are marked by small details, so special attention must be paid to each stage of the process, from harvesting to the moment of fruit shipment; and this is where Citrosol's solutions and equipment provide high technological value to lemon packing and commercialization.


Careful fruit harvesting in the field

Select batches of fruit that have not undergone sudden temperature changes, without external damage, and avoid harvesting fruit after a very humid period and/or heavy rains. In the packinghouse, the lemon should be treated urgently either in a drencher or in-line (taking extreme precautions in case of pre-calibration), and then transferred as soon as possible to degreening or cold storage conditions.


Fruit selection and washing

Selection must be very careful. Likewise, proper washing is essential to remove field dirt, reduce pesticide concentration, and eliminate organic matter residues adhering to the fruit skin, which, besides soiling the line, will prevent us from treating and coating the fruit correctly. For this purpose, we have a range of specially indicated detergents, such as Detersol-Bio (for organic lemons).


Fungicidal treatment

The choice of active ingredients to be used is a critical point, as well as the different possible application points (drencher, line, and cold room). The mechanisms of action of fungicides are diverse, and their effectiveness in lemon with each fungal disease must be comparatively considered. Our range of fungicides includes all the necessary active ingredients for the post-harvest control of the main pathogens affecting lemons, including certified products for organic agriculture with high efficacy, such as the combined treatment Fung-Cid BIO Bna + Citrocide®-Plus.


Treatments for skin protection and reduction of cold damage

Lemons are among the citrus fruits most susceptible to cold, and although this damage can occur in the field, it could also originate and/or worsen during their postharvest life with improper cold handling in the cold room and/or during transportation. On the other hand, in all late seasons of Fino lemon, like the one we are in, we have fruits with a high degree of maturity, making the fruit more susceptible to all types of senescence-related spotting or other causes. If we add to this a climatic condition with sudden temperature changes, strong and warm winds, and consequently low relative humidity, all of this causes greater dehydration and water imbalances in lemons, further increasing the susceptibility of fruits to spotting.

Postharvest treatments can help mitigate and reduce the damages caused by senescence and low temperatures. The use of specially indicated coatings, phytosanitary treatments, and authorized phytoregulators for post-harvest use has a proven effect in attenuating this type of damage. An example of this is Citroprotect-Plus: a formulation that protects the fruit skin by controlling or reducing the appearance of phytotoxicities and physiological disorders manifested as spots. As for coatings, Citrosol has a complete range for lemons, where we want to highlight: Sunseal® and Sunseal® Vegan Coatings (for shipments to distant destinations); Plantseal® Range: (100% plant-based coatings, indicated and certified for vegan use and in organic agriculture, providing excellent control of weight loss and cold damage).

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