Postharvest handling of mangos

This manual was created by a graduate student, Nicholas Reitz, and his project partner, Daniel Owusu Kyeremateng, as part of a Trellis Fund project, led by Methodist University College Ghana (MUCG).

Introduction and purpose

Mangos are an economically important fruit and are a significant source of income for many farmers in tropical areas. However, harvested mangos are highly perishable and can spoil quickly if not harvested, stored, and transported correctly. Thus, the purpose of this manual is to aid in postharvest handling of mangos.

Many of the recommendations and photos in the manual come from the two sources below. These resources are recommended for more in depth information on mango harvest, handling, transport, packing, ripening, and processing.

  • Brecht, Jeffrey. Mango Postharvest Best Management Practices Manual. The National Mango Board, 2017.
  • Kitinoja, Lisa, and Adel A. Kader. Small-scale postharvest handling practices: a manual for horticultural crops. University of California, Davis, Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center, 2002.

This manual was produced as part of the 2017 project “Home-based processing and marketing of mango fruits in Wenchi Municipality” through the Methodist University College, Ghana. This manual is meant to be used as supplemental material for the above-mentioned project’s workshop. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this manual contains popular and effective practices in for decreasing postharvest loss of mangos. However, the authors cannot guarantee the effectiveness of the following methods in every instance and cannot take responsibility for loss or injuries caused while following these recommendations. As conditions change from location to location, the most important and effective practice is to determine what practices are effective in each location. It is the authors’ hope that this manual can provide a reliable and useful resource for popular best practices in mango harvest.

Topics covered in this manual

Maturity at harvest

  • Importance of maturity at harvest
  • Indicators: shape, skin appearance, lenticel appearance, flesh color, flesh firmness, BRIX

Harvest, handling and storage

  • Area preparation
  • Harvesting personnel preparation
  • Timing
  • Effect of dropping or throwing mangos
  • Harvesting tools
  • Containers
  • Reduction of latex burn

Transport and storage conditions

  • Direct sunlight and soil contact
  • Temperature
  • Reduction of handling
  • Bruising during handling and transport


Most mangos will ripen within 10 days at room temperature. Separating unripe mangos from ripe mangos and other ripe fruits may slow ripening by reducing exposure to ethylene. Ripening can be monitored through firmness, BRIX measurement, or flesh color.


  • Determining mango crop maturity
  • Using a penetrometer
  • Using a refractometer

Glossary of terms

  • Brix: A measure of the total amount of sugars in a juice. BRIX is often called total soluble solids and can be measured using a refractometer.
  • Penetrometer: A device using to measure the force needed to penetrate a fruit. Penetrometers almost always consist of a probe (metal cylinder that penetrates the fruit) and a gauge used for measuring the force applied.
  • Refractometer: A device used to measure the BRIX or total soluble solids of a juice. A refractometer almost always consists of a prism (glass area where the juice is placed) and an eye piece or digital readout to for reading measurements. A refractometer measures the BRIX by determining how light bends as it moves through a juice. This is then correlated with the density of the juice and the total amount of dissolved solids, the majority of which are often sugars.
  • Decay: Microbial spoilage of mangos. This can be caused by visible spoilage organisms, such as molds, or invisible organisms such as bacteria.
  • Latex: Liquid running from the stem of the mango after harvest. If not wash off or drained properly, latex can cause significant damage to the fruit surface.
  • Bruising: Damage caused by dropping, throwing, pressure, or other physical impacts to the fruit.
  • Mature mango: A mango that, if picked, will ripen properly and develop good flavors.
  • Immature mango: A mango that, if picked, will not ripen properly or develop good flavors.
  • Ripe mango: A fruit that has softened and developed flavors ideal for heating.
  • Lenticel: Light colored spots on the peel of the mango. Lenticels are a sign on maturity in the Kent variety and are used by the mango for breathing.

Value Chain

Postharvest practices