As non-climacteric, citrus fruit are only harvested at their optimal edible ripening stage. The usual approach followed by producers and packinghouses to establish the internal quality and ripening of citrus fruit is to collect fruit sets throughout ripening and use them to determine the quality attributes (QA) by standard and, in many cases, destructive and time-consuming methods. However, due to the large variability within and between orchards, the number of measured fruits is seldom statistically representative of the batch, resulting in a fallible assessment of their internal QA (IQA) and a weak traceability in the citrus supply chain. Visible/near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (Vis–NIRS) is a nondestructive method that addresses this problem, and has proved to predict many IQA of a wide number of fruit including citrus. Yet, its application on a daily basis is not straightforward, and there are still several questions to address by researchers in order to implement it routinely in the crop supply chain. This chapter reviews the application of Vis–NIRS in the assessment of the quality and ripening of citrus fruit, and makes a critical evaluation on the technique’s limiting issues that need further attention by researchers.
Part of the book: Citrus