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December 2018 – Vol. 101 No. 4

Dragon fruit (Hylocereus sp.) is a climbing cactus natively produced in Mexico and Central and Southern America and was believed to be introduced in the Philippines during the Spanish era. It was originally grown as an ornamental crop in many local homes but has gained popularity in the Philippine market because of its peculiar shape, enticing color and high nutritional value. Many farmers have engaged in dragon fruit farming because of its high profitability. Among the two popular species of dragon fruit, the red-fleshed (H. polyrhizus) is highly preferred than the white-fleshed (H. undatus) as it is believed to be more nutritious because of its intense red pulp which translates to high antioxidant activity. Other than being eaten as intact fruit for dessert, it can also be processed to jams, ice creams, wines, beverages and dyes. Because of the expanding market for dragon fruit, developing appropriate technologies to keep its physical and nutritional quality after harvest have become imperative to address the fruit’s short shelf life. The use of chitosan coating and low temperature conditioning in dragon fruit prior to storage have been tested and showed potential in alleviating chilling injury when stored at suboptimal temperatures thus preserving fruit quality and extending market availability.

{Photograph courtesy of Angelo C. Castro of the Institute of Crop Science/Postharvest Horticulture Training and Research Center, College of Agriculture and Food Science, University of the Philippines Los Banos, Philippines 4031}


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