We are investigating alternative strategies to control scald on apples. Ethanol vapors were applied to `Law Rome' and `Red Delicious' apples in the storage chambers by ventilating air through aqueous solutions of ethanol at different concentrations, and in modified atmosphere packages by adding various initial concentrations of ethanol vapor. Fruits in storage chambers treated with ethanol vapor at 1600 ppm for about 2 months showed no scald when stored for an additional period in air storage whereas the scald index in control was up to 2.33 (the highest is 3). The similar results in the modified atmosphere experiments confirmed that ethanol vapor could prevent apple scald. Ethanol vapor treatment was also correlated with a reduction of α-farnesene production by the fruits. α-farnesene is an isoprenoid metabolite in the pathway to carotenoid synthesis that has been implicated indirectly as a factor in scald development. Evidence for this based on diphenylamine (DPA) reducing the level of a conjugated terpene product of α-farnesene oxidation. Our results suggested that the control of scald by ethanol vapor treatment may be related to the reduction of α-farnesene production and its subsequent oxidation. Ethanol vapor treatment resulted in accumulation of ethanol in the fruits in direct proportion to the ethanol concentration administered and reduced the rate of ethylene production, and the internal ethanol levels dropped rapidly when fruits were returned to air without ethanol vapor.
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