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

in HortScience
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  • 1 1Dept. of Agricultural Sciences, Louisiana Tech Univ., Ruston, LA 71272
  • | 2 2Horticultural Crops Quality Laboratory, USDA/ARS, Beltsville, MD 20705
  • | 3 3Dept. of Plant and Soil Science, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37901

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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