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Durian Harvesting
Cooperating agency for this topic:
The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD)
Fax: 63-49-536-0016, 2001-02-01


Durian (Durio zibethius Murr.) has been called the most controversial fruit in the world because of its aroma and taste. It is native to Southeast Asia, and is an important fruit in the Philippines.

Adaptability of the Technology

Durian grows well in the tropics, in countries with a warm, humid climate. The best temperature range is from 25oC to 30oC, with 80% relative humidity. Ideal rainfall ranges from 1,500-2,000 mm per annum. Optimum elevation ranges from sea level up to 800 m. Elevations higher than 800 m produce trees which bear foliage rather than fruit, have a longer juvenile stage, and are more susceptible to disease. Soil should be deep, loamy, and well drained, with a high organic matter content. Soil pH should be 5.5-6.5. The current technology on harvesting described here can be used on trees which are not very tall.

Effectiveness of the Technology

Fruits from large trees are usually not picked or harvested but are allowed to drop naturally when ripe ( Fig. 1(2), Fig. 2(1)). However, recently established orchards are planted with improved varieties, the fruits of which have a thin pericarp. The fruits will be damaged if they drop onto the ground. Thus, they need to be picked from the trees at the right stage of maturity. Hand-picked fruits have a longer shelf life (5-7 days) than fallen fruits (2-3 days).

Indices of Maturity

Immature fruits have inferior eating quality. They lack the characteristic aroma and flavor, and may not ripen normally. The following maturity indices characterize the mature fruit. The abscission layer at the peduncle or fruit stalk is visible and pronounced. The fruit gives an audible dull hollow sound when tapped. A slight but distinct aroma is exuded by the fruit. The spines are pliable when bent. The pericarp becomes yellowish green or brown, and grooves among the spine bases expand. Maturity may occur from 90-130 days after flower opening, depending on the cultivar.

Harvesting Method

When harvesting, the grower should climb the tree and select mature fruits, using the maturity indices. The peduncle should be cut above the abscission layer, close to the branch. Harvested fruit should be held at the peduncle and placed in a bamboo basket tied with a rope. After the basket is lowered to the ground, the fruits should be transferred to containers for transport to the sorting shed. The fruits should not come in contact with the soil, to avoid soil-borne infections.

One method of preparing the fruit for harvesting is to tie the fruit peduncle below the abscission layer to the whole fruit itself and anchor it to the branch. When the fruit ripens and is detached from the branch, it does not drop to the ground. The fruits are then collected from the tree, either by climbing or by using a harvesting pole.

Index of Images


Figure 1 Cross-Section of Ripe Durian Fruit


Figure 2 Durian Tree with Fruits

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