Pests & Diseases
As a relatively recent fruit to commercial production in the United States, research into pests and diseases is ongoing.
Thrips can cause serious damage to the outside of the fruit but are currently only found in Florida. The tiny bugs will mark fruit with a stippled pattern that is primarily an aesthetic issue. The leaf-footed bug can be problematic and is commonly found in Colombia, Nicaragua, and Mexico.
Aphids and ants, scale, and mealybugs can affect production when not controlled, while birds, snails, and rodents can also disrupt growing. Producers in Australia use netting to protect ripening fruit from birds.
Soft rot can affect stems and a calcium deficiency has been linked to worsening of this condition in Mexico. Other damage includes the root system when accompanied by other injuries such as sunburn or other opportunistic diseases.
Cactus virus X can result in reduced growth, such as no new shoots or flowers, enlarged stems, and a darkish-dull green color. Currently, there is no cure and infected plants should be removed. Other diseases and pathogens include anthracnose, brown spot, canker, and fruit rot.
Storage & Packaging
Dragon fruit can be easily damaged by chilling injury, leading to wilting, browning, and softening if exposed to temperatures between 41°F and 43°F. To prevent water loss and shriveling, fruit be stored in protective containers.
Once picked, dragon fruit does not continue ripening; postharvest life is up to 4 weeks when properly cooled and stored. At room temperature, fruit will last 4 to 5 days.
Optimal storage temperature varies by variety, with red dragon fruit favoring 50°F and yellow dragon fruit preferring 43°F with optimum relative humidity of 85 to 90%. High quality dragon fruit will be well-shaped and brightly colored, with firm flesh and bracts.
References: Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center, University of California Cooperative Extension (Ventura County), University of Florida/IFAS Extension, University of Hawaii.
GRADES & GOOD ARRIVAL
Currently, there are no good arrival guidelines published for this commodity.