Chlorophyll Fluorescence as an Indicator of Low O2 or High CO2 Stress in Apples during Storage

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  • 1 1Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Kentville Research Centre, 32 Main St., Kentville, NS, B4N 1J5, Canada
  • | 2 2Dept. of Horticultural Science, Univ. of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada.

Chlorophyll fluorescence, measured using a Plant Productivity Fluorometer Model SF-20 (Richard Brancker Research, Ottawa, Ont.), was evaluated as a rapid and nondestructive technique to detect low O2 and/or high CO2 stress in apples during storage. `Marshall' McIntosh apples were held for 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25 days at 3C in the following four treatments: standard O2 (2.5% to 3%) and low CO2 (<1%); low O2 (1% to 1.5%) and low CO2 (<1%); standard O2 (2.5% to 3%) and standard CO2 (4% to 4.5%); or standard O2 (2.5% to 3%) and high CO2 (11% to 12%). Only 10% of the apples had skin discoloration after 5 days in 1% to 1.5% O2, while 80% developed skin discoloration after 20 days in low O2. Small desiccated cavities in the cortex, associated with CO2 injury, developed in 10% of the apples after 20 days in 11% to 12% CO2. Both 1% to 1.5% O2 and 11% to 12% CO2 for 5 days caused chlorophyll fluorescence [Fv = (P – T)/P] of apple fruit to decrease, as compared to those held in standard atmospheres. Additional exposure time did not significantly affect Fv in either the low-O2 (1% to 1.5%) or high-CO2 (11% to 12%) treatment. The results of this study suggest that chlorophyll fluorescence can detect low-O2 and high-CO2 stress in apples, prior to the development of associated physiological disorders.

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