Journal of Food Science and Technology

, Volume 52, Issue 9, pp 5418–5426 | Cite as

Combinatorial approaches for controlling pericarp browning in Litchi (Litchi chinensis) fruit

  • Bharat Bhushan
  • Ajay Pal
  • Rajesh Narwal
  • Vijay Singh Meena
  • Pritam Chand Sharma
  • Jitendra Singh


The availability of fruit like litchi has been limited by variability in yield, alternate bearing, seasonal differences and most commonly post harvest problems. The litchi fruit has a very short shelf-life during which red color turns brown which greatly affects the appeal to consumer although not the unique flavor. This review article focuses on the post harvest problems especially browning of litchi. The pericarp of litchi is also sensitive to desiccation and turns brown and brittle once moisture is reduced to half. A large number of approaches have been tried to solve this problem starting from hydro-cooling to gamma irradiation but single approach could not suffice for all. In modern era, the logical base of controlling browning is either to control the responsible enzyme or remove the undesirable product of enzyme catalyzed reaction. Thus enzyme technology with good postharvest practice can definitely solve this problem.


Litchi Pericarp browning Phospholipase D 



This review was sponsored by institutional grant by ICAR-CIPHET, India.


  1. Barman K, Siddiqui MW, Patel VB, Prasad M (2014) Nitric oxide reduces pericarp browning and preserves bioactive antioxidants in litchi. Sci Hortic 171:71–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bryant PH (2012) A model of postharvest moisture loss under air currents to reduce pericarp browning of litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.). Postharvest Biol Technol 73:8–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Caro Y, Joas J (2005) Postharvest control of litchi pericarp browning (cv. Kwai Mi) by combined treatments of chitosan and organic acids II. Effect of the initial water content of pericarp. Postharvest Biology and Technology 38:137–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen W, Wu Z, Ji Z, Su M (2001) Postharvest research and handling of litchi in China - A review. Acta Horticulturae Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Litchi and Longan, Guangzhou, China, 16–19 June 2000, 558: 321–329Google Scholar
  5. Choi YJ, Tomas-Barberan FA, Saltveit ME (2005) Wound-induced phenolic accumulation and browning in lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) leaf tissue is reduced by exposure to n-alcohols. Postharvest Biol Technol 37:47–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dong H, Cheng L, Tan J, Zheng K, Jiang Y (2004) Effects of chitosan coating on quality and shelf life of peeled litchi fruit. Journal of Food Engineering 64:355–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Duan X, Jiang Y, Su X, Liu H, Li Y, Zhang Z, Zheng Y, Jiang W (2004) Role of pure oxygen treatment in browning of litchi fruit after harvest. Plant Sci 167:665–668CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Duan X, Jiang Y, Su X, Zhang Z, Shi J (2007) Antioxidant properties of anthocyanins extracted from litchi (Litchi chinenesis Sonn.) fruit pericarp tissues in relation to their role in the pericarp browning. Food Chem 101:1365–1371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ducamp-Collin MN, Ramarson H, Lebrun M, Self G, Reynes M (2008) Effect of citric acid and chitosan on maintaining red colouration of litchi fruit pericarp. Postharvest Biology and Technology 49:241–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Duvenhage JA (1993) Control of post-harvest decay and browning of litchi fruit by sodium metabisulphite and low pH dips. S.A. Litchi Growers’ Assoc. Yearbook 5:31–32Google Scholar
  11. Fang F, Zhang Z, Zhang X, Wu Z, Yin H, Png X (2013) Reduction in activity/gene expression of anthocyanin degradation enzymes in lychee pericarp is responsible for the color protection of the fruit by heat and acid treatment. Journal of Integrative Agriculture 12(9):1694–1702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gautam S, Mishra BB, Hajare SN, Kumar S, Saxena S, More VS, Wadhawan S, Bandyopadhyay N, Sharma A (2013) Process for retaining pericarp color and extending shelf life of litchi. BARC Newsletter Founder day special issue 245–250Google Scholar
  13. Holcroft DM, Mitcham EJ (1996) Postharvest physiology and handling of litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.). Postharvest Biology and Technology 9:265–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ilangantileke SG, Noomhorn A, Upadhyay IP, Srinivas Rao M (1993) Effect of irradiation and storage temperature on the shelf life and quality of Thai litchi. In: Champ BR, Highley E, Johnson GI (Eds) Postharvest Handling of Tropical Fruits, ACIAR Conference Proceedings, Chang Mai, Thailand 50: 352–354Google Scholar
  15. Jacobi KK, Wong LS, Janet EG (1993) Lychee (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) fruit quality following vapour heat treatment and cold storage. Postharvest Biol Technol 3:111–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jiang YM, Chen F (1995) A study on polyamine change and browning of fruit during cold storage of litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.). Postharvest Biology and Technology 5:245–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jiang Y, Fu J (1998) Inhibition of polyphenol oxidase and the browning control of litchi fruit by glutathione and citric acid. Food Chem 62(1):49–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jiang Y, Duan X, Joyce D, Zhang Z, Li J (2004) Advances in understanding of enzymatic browning in harvested litchi fruit. Food Chem 88:443–446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Joas J, Caro Y, Ducamp MN, Reynes M (2005) Postharvest control of pericarp browning of litchi fruit (Litchi chinensis Sonn cv Kwaiimi) by treatment with chitosan and organic acids I. Effect of pH and pericarp dehydration. Postharvest Biology and Technology 38:128–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kaewchana R, Techavuthiporn C, Kanlayanarat S (2006) Sucrose fatty acid coating retards pericarp browning of litchi cv Hong Huay. Acta Hort 712:579–583Google Scholar
  21. Kaiser C, Levin J, Wolstenholme BN (1995) Vapour, heat and low pH dips improve litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) pericarp colour retention. J SAfr Soc Hort Sci 4:6–12Google Scholar
  22. Kumar S, Mishra BB, Saxena S, Bandyopadhyay N, More V, Wadhawan S, Hajare SN, Gautam S, Sharma A (2012) Inhibition of pericarp browning and shelf life extension of litchi by combination dip treatment and radiation processing. Food Chem 131:1223–1232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lemmer D, Kruger FJ (2000) Factors influencing SO2- Residues on commercially fumigated HLH Mauritius and McLean’s Red litchi fruit. S.A. Litchi Growers’ Assoc. Yearbook 11:42–46Google Scholar
  24. Li M, Hong Y, Wang X (2009) Phospholipase D- and phosphatidic acid-mediated signaling in plants. Biochim Biophys Acta 1791:927–935CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Liang YS, Chen NL, Ke LS (2012) Influence of dipping in sodium metabisulfite on pericarp browning of litchi cv. Yu Her Pau (Feizixiao). Post harvest Biology and Technology 68:72–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Liang YS, Wongmetha O, Wu PS, Ke LS (2013) Influence of hydrocooling on browning and quality of litchi cultivar Feizixiao during storage. International Journal of Refrigeration 36:1173–1179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lichter A, Dvir O, Rot I, Akerman M, Regev R, Wiesblum A, Fallik E, Zauberman G, Fuchs Y (2000) Hot water brushing : an alternative method to SO2 fumigation for color retention of litchi fruit. Post harvest Biology and Technology 18:235–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lin ZF, Li SS, Zhang DL, Liu SX, Li YB, Lin GZ, Chen MD (1988) The changes of oxidation and peroxidation in postharvest litchi fruit. Acta Botanica Sinica 30:383–387Google Scholar
  29. Lin B, Du Y, Liang X, Wang X, Yang J (2011) Effect of chitosan coating on respiratory behavior and quality of stored litchi under ambient temperature. Journal of Food Engineering 102:94–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Liu H, Shi J, Song L, Jiang Y, You Y (2006) Browning control and quality maintenance of litchi fruit treated with combination of N-acetyl cysteine and isoascorbic acid. Journal of Food Technology 4(2):147–151Google Scholar
  31. Liu L, Cao S, Xu Y, Zhang M, Xiao G, Deng Q, Xie B (2010) Oxidation of (−)-epicatechin is a precursor of litchi pericarp enzymatic browning. Food Chem 118:508–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Liu H, Song L, You Y, Li Y, Duan X, Jiang Y, Joyce DC, Ashraf M, Lu W (2011) Cold storage duration affects litchi fruit quality, membrane permeability, enzyme activities and energy charge during shelf time at ambient temperature. Postharvest Biology and Technology 60:24–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Liu T, Wang H, Kuang J, Sun C, Shi J, Duan X, Qu H, Jiang Y (2014) Short term anerobic pure oxygen and refrigerated storage conditions affect the energy status and selective gene expression in litchi fruit. LWT - Food Sci Technol. doi: 10.1016/J.LWT.2014.09.003
  34. Mangaraj S, Goswami TK, Giri SK, Tripathi MK (2012) Permselective MA packaging of litchi (cv. Shahi) for preserving quality and extension of shelf-life. Post Harvest Biology and Technology 71:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Martínez-Castellanos G, Pelayo-Zaldívar C, Perez-Flores LJ, López-Luna A, Gimeno M, Bárzana E, Shirai K (2011) Postharvest litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) quality preservation by Lactobacillus plantarum. Postharvest Biology and Technology 59:172–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Neog M, Saikia L (2010) Control of post-harvest pericarp browning of litchi (Litchi chinensis. Sonn) J Food Sci Technol 47(1):100–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Olesen T, Nacey L, Wiltshire N, O’Brien S (2004) Hot water treatments for the control of rots on harvested litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) fruit. Postharvest Biology and Technology 32:135–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Paliyath G, Tiwari K, Yuan H, Whitaker BD (2008) Structural deterioration in produce: phospholipase D, membrane deterioration and senescence. In: Paliyath G, Murr DP, Handa AK, Lurie S (eds) Postharvest biology and technology of fruits, vegetables and flowers, Istth edn. Wiley-Blackwell, Iowa, pp 195–239Google Scholar
  39. Pesis E, Dvir O, Feygenberg O, Arie RB, Ackerman M, Lichter A (2002) Production of acetaldehyde and ethanol during maturation and modified atmosphere storage of litchi fruit. Postharvest Biology and Technology 26:157–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rattanapanone N, Plotto A, Baldwin E (2007) Effect of edible coatings and other surface treatments on pericarp color of thai litchi cultivars. Proc Fla State Hort Soc 120:222–227Google Scholar
  41. Reichel M, Triani R, Wellhöfer J, Sruamsiri P, Carle R, Neidhart S (2012) Vital Characteristics of Litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) Pericarp that define postharvest concepts for Thai cultivars. Food Bioprocess Technol. doi: 10.1007/s11947-011-0762-9 Google Scholar
  42. Reuck KD, Sivakumar D, Korsten L (2009) Integrated application of 1-methylcyclopropene and modified atmosphere packaging to improve quality retention of litchi cultivars during storage. Postharvest Biology and Technology 52:71–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ruenroengklin N, Sun J, Shi J, Xue SJ, Jiang Y (2009) Role of endogenous and exogenous phenolics in litchi anthocyanin degradation caused by polyphenol oxidase. Food Chem 115:1253–1256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Saengnil K, Lueangprasert K, Uthaibutra J (2006) Control of enzymatic browning of harvested ‘Hong Huay’ litchi fruit with hot water and oxalic acid dips. Sci Asia 32:345–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Semeerbabu MT, Kudachikar VB, Baskaran R, Ushadevi A, Matche RS, Ramana KVR (2007) Effects of post-harvest treatments on shelf life and quality of litchi fruit stored under modified atmosphere at low temperature. Journal of Food Sci Technol 44(1):106–109Google Scholar
  46. Sharma M, Jacob JK, Subramanian J, Paliyath G (2010) Hexanal and 1-MCP treatments for enhancing the shelf life and quality of sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) Scientia Hort 125:239–247Google Scholar
  47. Sivakumar D, Korsten L (2006a) Influence of modified atmosphere packaging and postharvest treatments on quality retention of litchi cv. Mauritius. Postharvest Biology and Technology 41:135–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sivakumar D, Korsten L (2006b) Evaluation of the integrated application of two types of modified atmosphere packaging and hot water treatments on quality retention in the litchi cultivar McLean’s Red. J Hort Sci Biotechnol 81:639–644Google Scholar
  49. Sivakumar D, Korsten L (2010) Fruit quality and physiological responses of litchi cultivar McLean’s Red to 1-methylcyclopropene pre-treatment and controlled atmosphere storage conditions. LWT–Food Sci Tech 43:942–948Google Scholar
  50. Sivakumar D, Arrebola E, Korsten L (2008) Postharvest decay control and quality retention in litchi (cv. McLean’s Red) by combined application of modified atmosphere packaging and antimicrobial agents. Crop Prot 27:1208–1214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Somboonkaew N, Terry LA (2010) Physiological and biochemical profiles of imported litchi fruit under modified atmosphere packaging. Postharvest Biology and Technology 56:246–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Somboonkaew N, Terry LA (2011) Influence of temperature and packaging on physiological and chemical profiles of imported litchi fruit. Food Res Int 44:1962–1969CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sun J, Jiang Y, Wei X, Shi J, You Y, Liu H, Kakuda Y, Zhao M (2006) Identification of (−) epicatechin as the direct substrate for polyphenol oxidase isolated from litchi pericarp. Food Res Int 39:864–870CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sun J, You X, Li L, Peng H, Su W, Li C, He Q, Liao F (2011) Effects of a phospholipase D inhibitor on postharvest enzymatic browning and oxidative stress of litchi fruit. Postharvest Biology and Technology 62:288–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sun J, Li C, Prasad KN, You X, Li L, Liao F, Peng H, He X, Li Z, Zhang Y (2012) Membrane deterioration, enzymatic browning and oxidative stress in fresh fruits of three litchi cultivars during six day storage. Sci Hortic 148:97–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Tian SP, Li BQ, Xu Y (2005) Effects of O2 and CO2 concentrations on physiology and quality of litchi fruit in storage. Food Chem 91:659–663CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tongdee SC, Sarpetch C, Roe DJ, Suwanagul A, Neamprem S (1998) Effect of heat-acid treatment on quality of litchi fruit. South African Litchi Growers AssociationYear book 9:44–46Google Scholar
  58. Underhill SJR, Critchley C (1995) Cellular localisation of polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase activity in Litchi chinensis Son. pericarp. Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 22:627–632CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Underhill SJR, Simons DH (1993) Litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) pericarp desiccation and importance of postharvest micro-cracking. Sci Hortic 54:287–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wang JB, Wang XS, Jin ZQ (2010) Enzymatic browning of postharvest litchi : a review. In: Dongliang Q et al. (eds) Trees in Sapindaceae family, Proc 3rd IS on Longan, Litchi and other fruits. Acta Hort 863: 613–617Google Scholar
  61. Wang HC, Hu ZQ, Wang Y, Chen HB, Huang XM (2011) Phenolic compounds and the antioxidant activities in litchi pericarp: Difference among cultivars. Sci Hortic 129:784–789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Yang S, Sun J, Feng L, Yang E, Chen Y, Dong X, Su X, Jiang Y (2011) Lipofuscin-Like substance involved in pericarp browning of postharvest litchi fruit during storage. The open food science Journal 5:47–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Yi C, Jiang YM, Shi J, Qu HX, Xue SJ, Duan XW, Shi JY, Prasad KN (2010) ATP-regulation of antioxidant properties and phenolics in litchi fruit during browning and pathogen infection process. Food Chem 118:42–47Google Scholar
  64. Zauberman G, Ronen R, Akerman M, Weksler A, Rot I, Fuchs Y (1991) Postharvest retention of red colour of litchi fruit pericarp. Sci Hort 47:89–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Zhang D, Quantick PC (1997) Effects of chitosan coating on enzymatic browning and decay during postharvest storage of litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) fruit. Postharvest Biology and Technology 12:195–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zhang D, Quantick PC, Grigor JM (2000) Changes in phenolic compounds in Litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) fruit during postharvest storage. Post Harvest Biology and Technology 19:165–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Zhang Z, Huber DJ, Qu H, Yun Z, Wang H, Huang Z, Huang H, Jiang Y (2015) Enzymatic browning and antioxidant activities in harvested litchi fruit as influenced by apple polyphenols. Food Chem. doi: 10.1016/J.FoodChem.2014.09.001
  68. Zhang Z, Pang X, Xuewu D, Ji Z, Jiang Y (2005) Role of peroxidase in anthocyanin degradation in litchi fruit pericarp. Food Chem 90:47–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Zheng X, Tian S (2006) Effect of oxalic acid on control of postharvest browning of litchi fruit. Food Chem 96:519–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association of Food Scientists & Technologists (India) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bharat Bhushan
    • 1
  • Ajay Pal
    • 2
  • Rajesh Narwal
    • 2
  • Vijay Singh Meena
    • 1
  • Pritam Chand Sharma
    • 1
  • Jitendra Singh
    • 1
  1. 1.Horticultural Crop Processing DivisionICAR-Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and TechnologyAboharIndia
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Basic Sciences & HumanitiesCCS Haryana Agricultural UniversityHisarIndia

Personalised recommendations