Persimmon Production and Commercialization in Brazil: an Overview

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1 Persimmon Production and Commercialization in Brazil: an Overview D.A. Neuwald Kompetenzzentrum Obstbau Bodensee Ravensburg Germany I. Sestari Department of Biological Science Luiz de Queiroz Agricultural College University of São Paulo, Piracicaba, SP Brazil A.A. Saquet Federal Center of Technological Education of São Vicente do Sul São Vicente do Sul, RS Brazil C.K. Sautter Department of Crop Production Federal University of Santa Maria Santa Maria, RS Brazil Keywords: Diospyros kaki L., market, postharvest, astringent persimmon, raisin, vinegar, exportation Abstract Persimmon was introduced into the Brazilian state of São Paulo in 1890 but only expanded its cultivation around 1920 with Japanese immigration. The persimmon growing area in Brazil is now around 8,309 ha, with a production of 164,849 t (FAO, 2006). São Paulo has the largest production areas followed by the state of Rio Grande do Sul. In recent years the persimmon area has increased approximately 10% and the trend is to continue crop expansion. The main cultivars are Fuyu, Rama Forte, Giombo and Taubaté. The market price for persimmon depends on the cultivar and can vary up to 60% with fruit size and up to 30% in fruit quality. In Brazil, most persimmon production is sold fresh in local markets, and in some growing regions persimmon is commercialized as dried fruit or vinegar. However, recently part of the production has been exported to Germany, Canada, Spain, The Netherlands and Portugal. The future challenges are to improve postharvest and storage techniques together with development of an adequate distribution system to meet the increased market demand. Although persimmon is highly perishable, the fruit can be stored for up to two months in regular air storage and three months in controlled atmosphere, but a rapid loss of fruit quality occurs during shelf life. INTRODUCTION In spite of Brazil being one of the largest persimmon producers in the world, persimmon growing can be considered a recent activity. According to Martins and Pereira (1989) the persimmon was introduced into Brazil around 1880, but cultivation expanded greatly from 1920, with Japanese immigration. Currently, persimmons are grown mainly in the south and southeast regions of Brazil, where they have economic and social importance. Most persimmons are sold fresh as in natura in local markets, however, in places with Japanese immigration the fruit have been industrialized and commercialized as dried fruit and vinegar. Since 1997, Brazilian persimmons have been exported to Europe and while the volume increases yearly, major constraints for exporting are the need to satisfy requirements for fruit quality, quarantine and storage life, which limits long distance transport. The aim of this paper is to review the current status of the persimmon crop in Brazil. Botanical Aspects Some cultivars lose astringency naturally on the tree as the fruit develop, while Proc. IV th IS on Persimmon Eds.: E. Bellini and E. Giordani Acta Hort. 833, ISHS

2 others maintain astringency until maturity. So persimmons are classified into two groups, astringent and non-astringent, based on the presence or absence of astringency in the fruit at maturity. Each group is further classified into two sub-types, pollination-constant (PC) or pollination-variant (PV), depending on the seed effect on the loss of astringency and flesh colour. Thus, all persimmon cultivars are classified to either pollination-constant and non-astringent (PCNA), pollination variant and non-astringent (PVNA), pollinationconstant and astringent (PCA), or pollination-variant and astringent (PVA) (Sugiura, 2005). Amongst persimmon cultivars, PCNA is commercially most desirable because it loses astringency on the tree and does not require further postharvest treatment (Yamada et al., 2002). In addition, the Brazilian industry uses a classification suggested by Campo Dall Orto et al. (1996) where fruit are classified into three groups, astringent or Sibugaki, non-astringent or Amagaki and variables. Fruit in the first group are continually astringent with yellow flesh either with or without seeds, the most important cultivars in this group are Taubaté, Coração de Boi and Hachiya. Fruit classified in the second group are always non-astringent and show yellow flesh independent of the presence of seeds. Fuyu, Jiro and Fuyuhana are examples of this group. The last group is described as variable and consists of astringent fruit with yellow flesh when without seeds, and partial or fully non astringent when one or more seeds are present. When numerous seeds are present, the flesh is dark. Rama Forte and Giombo are the main examples (Martins and Pereira, 1989). Harvesting Fruit production usually starts when a tree is around three years old. Harvest decisions are based on visual changes in the fruit skin colour, usually when it turns from green to yellow-red. Fruit classified as sweet and variable types are harvested at a yellowgreenish stage, while fruit classified as astringent is best harvested as orange-reddish. The pigment content is variable among the cultivars. The skin colour change in persimmon is related to chlorophyll loss, and increases in carotenoid pigments such as β-cryptoxantine, zeaxantine and lycopene. The harvest is concentrated from February to June and is characteristic for each cultivar but varies according to climate conditions and local cultural practices. Astringency Removal Astringent persimmons, in the Sibugaki group when non-pollinated, need to be treated after harvest to remove astringency. Many methods are reported as effective in removing astringency, however, all methods induce anaerobic metabolism which results in acetaldehyde and ethanol accumulation in the fruit flesh that then reacts with the tannins to form an insoluble gel (Matsuo and Ito, 1982). CO 2 treatment is suggested as the best method to reduce astringency, because large quantities of fruit can be treated in a short period and ripening processes can be retarded (Kato, 1990). In practice, astringency removal treatment for Giombo and Rama Forte, the major astringent cultivars grown in São Paulo, is based on ethanol vapour treatment. This method has one major disadvantage in increasing fruit softening, principally due to excessive exposure time to high concentrations of ethanol and an absence of subsequent cold storage. Trial work to improve the marketing and transport of these cultivars and reduce postharvest quality losses has been carried out (Antoniolli et al., 2002). At present, the research group led by Ricardo Kluge, at the University of São Paulo are studying the astringency removal process and the influence of factors such as cultivar, ripening stage, method used (CO 2, ethylene, ethanol vapours or vacuum package), rates and exposure time of astringent removal agents and the temperature during the process. Storage Several problems have been found during the storage and shelf life of persimmon, 52

3 such as the rapid softening and skin browning, which affect the acceptance of the product by the consumer (Neuwald et al., 2008). The storage life of persimmon under air storage at 0 to 2 C with 90% RH is limited to only two months while in contrast, temperatures between 4 and 8 C induce physiological disorders (Brackmann et al., 2006). For these reasons, alternative storage techniques such as controlled and modified atmosphere are of interest, mainly for the cultivar Fuyu (Neuwald et al., 2005, 2008; Cia et al., 2006). Fuyu persimmon can be stored for up to 3.5 months under controlled atmosphere storage at 0.5 to 5 kpa O 2 and 8 to 12 kpa CO to 2 C with >90% RH (Neuwald et al., 2005, 2008). In addition, ethylene removal from the storage container through ethylene scrubbers or 1-MCP has proved to be important in the maintenance of fruit quality (Girardi et al., 2003). Production and Marketing When compared to other traditional horticultural crops, such as orange, apple and banana, persimmon only represents less than 0.5% of the total Brazilian fruit production (Fioravanço and Paiva, 2007). But although persimmon is not a major crop by production volume and growing area, it is the fruit crop that has most increased in percentage terms over the last five years (Fig. 1). In recent years, the persimmon area in Brazil has increased by 215% and the production by 110% (Fig. 2) reaching about 8,500 ha and 150,000 t in 2005 (FAO, 2008). From 1997 to 2001, this increasing production has allowed the export of significant quantities of persimmon of about 288 t annually (Camargo Filho et al., 2003). Brazilian persimmons were mainly exported to European countries, especially Holland, Germany, France and Belgium, as well as Argentine and Canada. The trend is to continue crop expansion, principally in the most important growing regions. Many factors have contributed to the crop expansion and the development of the internal market. The minimal use of pesticides and the ability to withstand transportation as well as the excellent taste are seen as predominant factors by Matos (2003), while adaptability to a wide range of climate conditions and high productivity have favoured the enlargement of production to supply new profitable markets (Camargo Filho et al., 2003). Persimmon is grown mainly in the south and southeast regions, which make up the main production areas (Fig. 3). São Paulo state is the largest Brazilian persimmon producer, with an average production between 2001 to 2005 of about 84,814 t and highest productivity of 27.7 t/ha. Rio Grande do Sul has an average production of 2,330 t however, the yield is one of the lowest when compared to other states. In contrast, Rio de Janeiro state still has relatively small production, but excellent yields (26.8 t) comparable with São Paulo (Fig. 3). The main cultivars are regionally specific, in São Paulo, Taubate, Rama Forte, Giombo and Fuyu are predominantly grown whilst in Rio Grande do Sul Fuyu and Kioto are preferentially produced. Rio Grande do Sul, the northeast region had 68% of production and 60% of harvested area during the period between with, Caxias do Sul (27%), Farroupilha (10%) and Bento Gonçalves (7%) the main production regions (Fioravanço and Paiva, 2007). In São Paulo, the persimmon crop is concentrated around the regions of Mogi das Cruzes (59%), Campinas (17%), Itapeva (7%) and Sorocaba (7%) (Pereira, 2002). In Mogi das Cruzes production is based mainly on Rama Forte and Giombo which show the advantages of high productivity and elevated Brix levels. In the Arcanjo region of São Miguel, Fuyu is the most important cultivar, with a focus on export as this cultivar is well accepted in external markets. With the creation of cooperatives and producer associations the Brazilian persimmon industry is attempting to organize the production and match the product to meet consumer demand in both internal and external markets. Processing Almost the entire persimmon production is consumed fresh as in natura. 53

4 However, in some regions a small quantity of fruit is processed as vinegar and as dried fruit (raisin). The raisin persimmon is a pleasant and highly nutritive food, but its consumption is limited to the regions with Japanese culture, and also probably due to the handmade process which limits the volume produced and consequently the spread of the product to other regions (Silva et al., 2005). Vinegar production from persimmon fruit is gradually increasing and reaching markets far from the local production regions. In addition, it is another way to make use of unmarketable fruit. With dried fruit and vinegar the limiting factor is the low production however, both these products can be an interesting additional form of product diversification. CONCLUDING REMARKS While important advances have been achieved with the Brazilian persimmon industry in a general sense, several aspects should be considered to improve and expand the consumption in both local and external markets. The major constraints related to the domestic market are the low per capita consumption, the perishable nature of the fruit which limits the period availability to two to three months per year. To overcome these problems storage techniques such as controlled and modified atmospheres are being improved to extend the availability of persimmons on the local market and to reach distant export markets with supply during off-season periods. However, a deficient logistic and commercialization system as well as product standardization are important obstacles to overcome in order to guarantee the maintenance of fruit quality and avoid postharvest losses mainly due to fungi and over maturation. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We acknowledge the international interchange of the first author enabled by the FAPERGS and the Brasilien-Zentrum, University Tübingen, Germany. We thank R. McCormick for help with English. Literature Cited Antoniolli, L.R., Castro, P.R.C., Kluge, R.A. and Scarpare Filho, J.A A remoção da adstringência de frutos de caquizeiro Giombo sob diferentes temperaturas. Pesq. Agr. Bras. 37: Brackmann, A., Pinto, J.V., Gomez, A.C.S., Steffens, C.A. and Sestari, I Condições de armazenamento de caqui Fuyu. R. Bras. Agrociência 12: Camargo Filho, W.P., Mazzei, A.R. and Alves, H.S Mercado de caqui: variedades, estacionalidade e preços. Inf. Econômicas 33: Campo-Dall orto, F.A., Ojima, M., Barbosa, W. and Zullo, M.A.T Novo processo de avaliação da adstringência dos frutos no melhoramento do caquizeiro. Bragantia 55: Cia, P., Benato, E.A., Sigrist, J.M.M., Sarantopóulos, C., Oliveira, L.M. and Padula, M Modified atmosphere packaging for extending the storage life of Fuyu persimmon. Postharvest Biol. Tech. 42: FAO. Faostat. Disponível em: captured on 12 April Fioravanço, J.C. and Paiva, M.C Cultura do caquizeiro no Brasil e no Rio Grande do Sul: situação, potencialidade e entraves para o seu desenvolvimento. Inf. Econômicas 37: Girardi, C.L., Parussolo, A., Danieli, R., Corrent, A.R. and Rombaldi, C.V Conservação de caqui (Diospyros kaki, L.), cv. Fuyu, pela aplicação de 1- Metilciclopropeno. R. Bras. Fruticultura 25: Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística - IBGE Produção Agrícola Municipal. Disponível em: Kato, K Astringency removal and ripening in persimmons treated with ethanol and ethylene. HortScience 25: Martins, F.P. and Pereira, F.M Cultura do caquizeiro. Jaboticabal, Funep, 71p. 54

5 Matos, C.S Caqui - cultivar Kioto. Agrop. Catarinense 16: Matsuo, T. and Itoo, S A model experiment for de-astringency of persimmon fruit with high carbon dioxide treatment: in vitro gelation of kaki-tannin by reacting with acetaldehyde. J. Agr. Biol. Chem. 46: Neuwald, D.A., Giehl, R.F.H., Sestari, I. and Brackmann, A Avaliação de filmes de polietileno para a conservação de caqui Fuyu sob refrigeração. R. Bras. Agrociência 11: Neuwald, D.A., Sestari, I., Giehl, R.F.H., Pinto, J.V., Sautter, C.K. and Brackmann, A Manutenção da qualidade de caqui Fuyu através do armazenamento em atmosfera controlada. R. Bras. Armazenamento 33: Silva, P.R., Baptistella, C.S.L. and Francisco, V.L.F A cultura do caqui em São Paulo. Inf. Econômicas 35:1-6. Sugiura, A Retrospects and Prospects on Persimmon Research. Acta Hort. 685: Yamada, M., Taira, S., Ohtsuki, M., Sato, A., Iwanami, H., Yakushiji, H., Wang, R., Yang, Y. and Li, G Varietal differences in the ease of astringency removal by carbon dioxide gas and ethanol vapor treatments among Oriental astringent persimmons of Japanese and Chinese origin. Sci. Hort. 94: Figures Fig. 1. Variation in Brazilian fruit crop production and harvested areas from 1991 to 2005 (Modified from Fioravanço and Paiva, 2007). Source: FAO (2007). 55

6 Fig. 2. Persimmon harvested area and production in Brazil from 1991 to (Modified from Fioravanço and Paiva, 2007). Source: FAO (2007). Fig. 3. Persimmon production, harvested areas and productivity for the most important producer states in Brazil, from 2001 to Source: IBGE (2008). 56

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