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Home HortScience Storage Temperature Significant for Fresh Snap Beans
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GAINESVILLE, FL – A new study from researchers at the University of Florida provides producers with guidelines that can optimize storage and packaging procedures for fresh snap beans. M. Cecilia N. Nunes, now at the Food Quality Laboratory at the University of South Florida, headed a team that designed a three-fold experiment using fresh snap beans. The researchers obtained quality curves at chilling and non-chilling temperatures, identified the quality attributes that limit snap beans marketability, and determined the remaining compositional value at the point the snap beans had reached the minimum acceptable quality for sale. The study appears in HortScience.

‘Opus’ and ‘Leon’ snap beans were harvested, hydrocooled, held for 2 to 7 days (at five temperatures), and evaluated. Results showed that temperature had a significant effect on the shelf life and overall quality of snap beans. Snap beans stored at temperatures higher than 10°C were less green, softer, and more shriveled, and had higher weight loss and lower acidity, soluble solids, ascorbic acid, and chlorophyll contents than those stored at lower temperatures.

Weight loss was the first non-sensory quality attribute to reach the limit of acceptability; firmness was the first sensory quality attribute, followed by color, to reach the limit of acceptability, therefore limiting the shelf life of both cultivars. “As a result of excessive water loss and accelerated softening, shelf life of both snap bean cultivars was relatively short (1–3.5 days) depending on the temperature and cultivar. Furthermore, the compositional value was considerably reduced at the point of poor sensory quality”, the researchers noted. Overall, maximum shelf life and best quality were obtained when ‘Opus’ and ‘Leon’ snap beans were stored at 10°C

The study also contains recommendations for packaging fresh snap beans. The scientists noted that the significant weight loss obtained for all temperatures suggests that the use of a film wrapping rather than clamshells should be beneficial for snap beans. They concluded that the use of film wrapping would create a high relative humidity in the environment, therefore reducing water loss, maintaining better overall quality, and extending the shelf life of snap beans.

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The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site:

Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application. More information at


Original Article:

Quality Attributes Limiting Snap Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) Postharvest Life at Chilling and Non-chilling Temperatures
Emilie Proulx, Yavuz Yagiz, M. Cecilia, N. Nunes, and Jean-Pierre Emond
HortScience 2010 45:1238–1249. [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

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