Cell Membrane Stability and the Role of Calcium Infiltration in Postharvest Quality of Apples

in HortScience
Authors:
G.A. Picchioni1Dept. of Agricultural Sciences, Louisiana Tech Univ., Ruston, LA 71272

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A.E. Watada2Horticultural Crops Quality Laboratory, USDA/ARS, Beltsville, MD 20705

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W.S. Conway2Horticultural Crops Quality Laboratory, USDA/ARS, Beltsville, MD 20705

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B.D. Whitaker2Horticultural Crops Quality Laboratory, USDA/ARS, Beltsville, MD 20705

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C.E. Sams3Dept. of Plant and Soil Science, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37901

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Postharvest CaCl2 pressure infiltration improves firmness and storage quality of apples but is still in the experimental stages. Its effectiveness could be increased if we had a better understanding of how Ca affects the tissue at the cellular level. `Golden Delicious' fruit were harvested from a commercial orchard and were pressure-infiltrated with CaCl2 (0%, 2%, or 4% w/v), stored for 6 months at 0C, and then for 7 days at 20C. Between harvest and the end of storage at 20C, the net breakdown of galactolipids and phospholipids decreased with increasing CaCl2 in infiltration solutions. During 0C storage, CaCl2-infiltrated fruit maintained greater concentrations of conjugated sterol lipids, and these lipid classes are thought to be closely associated with the plasma membrane. As membrane lipid alterations are viewed as a central factor in the senescence of fruits, Ca (from postharvest infiltration) may serve a major role in regulating fruit quality losses through its interactions with cell membranes.

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