International Produce Training

Limes- Stylar End Breakdown

Have you opened a carton of limes and discovered a discoloration affecting the stylar end (opposite the stem end)?  You may have wondered if this is a type of decay, will it progress on the lime, will it spread to other limes?

What you have found is Stylar End Breakdown.  This is a fairly common defect found on limes, and one that may be a problem for you.  It is the most serious post harvest disorder affecting the lime industry.  Its cause is physiological, meaning stylar end breakdown is not caused by a pathogen or insect.

Stylar End Breakdown is a physiological disease usually starting at the stylar end near the base of the nipple or tip and appears as a grayish tan, watersoaked spot. The affected area enlarges rapidly involving up to 1/3 or 1/2 of the fruit.

Occasionally the disease appears at the stem end as well as at the stylar end. The affected area remains firm but becomes darker with age and usually sinks below the level of healthy surface. There is often a partial collapse of the flesh and a watersoaking of the core tissue within the stylar end of the fruit. The affected rind is quickly invaded by bacteria or fungi, causing the fruit to deteriorate rapidly.

Stylar end breakdown is a condition defect, as the affected area will progress, become larger on the individual lime, and may eventually turn into decay.  Unaffected limes will not show symptoms of stylar end breakdown by being in contact with affected limes.  But unaffected limes may show symptoms of stylar end breakdown while in storage, but the source came from the growing conditions.

The scoring guidelines:  This is a free from defect, meaning if you see stylar end breakdown, even in a very early stage, the lime is to be scored as a defect, against the 5% tolerance for serious damage.  As the stylar end breakdown advances, secondary organisms invade the tissue and the tissue will be soft and mushy.  At this stage, the defect will now be scored as stylar end rot, and scored against the 3% tolerance for decay.

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