PREHARVEST CONDITIONS, ENDOGENOUS ANTIOXIDANTS AND SCALD DEVELOPMENT

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  • 1 Dept. of Plant and Soil Sciences, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003

During the harvest season apples ripen and develop scald resistance. In the Northeast they usually are also exposed to cool temperatures as they mature and ripen. Experiments were conducted to study the effects of cool temperature, light and maturity on the endogenous antioxidants and subsequent scald development in Cortland and Delicious apples. Total lipid-soluble antioxidant activity in apple peel at harvest generally increased as scald incidence after storage decreased. Yet, α tocopherol, ascorbic acid and total water-soluble reducing capacity were not closely related to scald development. The absence of light (bagged fruit) decreased all measured antioxidants and increased scald development. However, ethephon applied in mid-August to induce ripening increased the levels of these antioxidants but had little effect on scald incidence in the absence of cool temperatures (hours <10°C). Cool temperatures, which decreased scald susceptibility, increased lipid-soluble antioxidant activity but had little influence on the other measured antioxidants. These data suggest that the endogenous antioxidants may be only partly responsible for natural scald resistance.

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