Respiration

Plant tissues respire, using oxygen in the conversion of carbohydrates to carbon dioxide, water, and energy. The energy is primarily given off as heat. Respiration rates and the amount of heat released increase as storage temperature increases, about two to three times for every 10°C (18°F) rise in temperature. The storage life of a commodity is inversely proportional to the rate of respiration. Therefore, as temperature increases, respiration rate increases, and storage life decreases. Respiration rates differ with plant species, cultivar, morphological tissue, and growing conditions. Rates gradually decrease after harvest for many fruits and vegetables, but in certain crops respiration rates gradually increase as they ripen, peak to a climacteric, and then decrease (5).

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