In the past four years the effects of levels of O2 from 1 % to 100%1 on ripening of Gala apples were studied. It was observed that oxygen concentrations larger than 8% did not delay the onset of the climacteric rise in ethylene evolution and respiration, and had no effect on any parameters of ripening, such as texture, acidity and soluble solids. The timing of the onset in the rise of ethylene evolution differed with the year. Low O2 environments of 1-2% did not induce any rise in ethanol concentration. One hundred percent O2 was highly detrimental in that it induced visible symptoms akin to low O2 injury and enhanced the accumulation of ethanol. Hypoxic environments induced a novel 61 kd polypeptide whose quantity was inversely related to the levels of O2. The data also indicate that the effect of low O2 environments on respiration is a function of the physiological stage of the fruits.
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