Abstract

The aim of this work was to study the response of banana bunches and fruits to extreme de-handing intensities.The study was performed from 2010 to 2011 in the Caribbean of Costa Rica in bunches with 6 and 8 fruit hands at harvest originating from bunches of 9, 10 and 11 and 11, 12 and 13 hands for experiment 1 and 2, respectively. Thickness and distance of fruit tip to rachis of the second and fifth hand were measured at monthly intervals. At harvest, bunch weight, finger girth, external and internal fruit length, distance between fruit tip to rachis were measured, and the ratio between the two lengths was used to calculate the curvature index. Thickness linearly increased as fruit developed, being similar (P>0.0508) between hand trimming intensities in most evaluations. Distance from fruit tip to rachis had an exponential decreased until evaluations 4 or 5 and then linearly increased. There were no differences (P>0.3797) for this variable on smaller bunches (9 and 10 hands, experiment 1) but increased (P<0.0497) in those with the highest trimming intensities. Some comparisons of this last variable among larger bunches were not significant (P>0.0540). The blooming-to-harvest interval and bunch weight decreased (P<0.0494) in bunches with higher hand trimming intensity. At harvest, thickness and fruit length were similar (P>0.0732) in all treatments regardless of bunch size. The distance varied only in experiment 2 which was higher (P<0.0295) in bunches with higher hand trimming intensities. The curvature ratio did not differ (P>0.0645) in most cases.
Keywords: hand conformation, fruit dimensions, Musa AAA, bunch weight, hand removal.