Stimulation of Citrus Pitting by Wax Application and High-temperature Storage

in HortScience
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  • 1 Florida Dept. of Citrus, Lake Alfred, FL 33850

A peel disorder of white grapefruit that has caused substantial losses over the past several seasons was examined. This disorder, which has been identified also in Fallglo and reported for oranges and other grapefruit varieties, is characterized by scattered clusters of pits and is caused by the collapse of oil glands. Applying commonly used waxes and subsequent high-temperature storage (15°C or higher) triggered pitting. Washing and exposure to ethylene during degreening did not affect pitting. Shellac-based water emulsion waxes from three companies and a polyethylene-based wax stimulated pitting but carnauba-based wax did not. Evaluation of internal gases of the fruit showed that all but the carnauba-based wax resulted in low O2 (<5%) and high CO2 (>6%) internal atmospheres. Subjecting nonwaxed fruit to 4% O2 and 9% CO2 storage atmospheres also stimulated pitting. These results suggest that wax application, in conjunction with high-temperature storage, may stimulate pitting by affecting gas exchange and respiration.

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