The tolerances of strawberry fruit to postharvest CO2 treatments is an important factor in assessing their potential for extended storage and marketing, but little information on variation among cultivars is available. We have assessed differences in responses of seven strawberry cultivars (`Annapolis', `Earliglow', `Kent', `Honeoye', `Cavendish', `Jewel', and `Governor Simcoe') to high-CO2 atmospheres. Fruit were harvested at the orange or white tip stage of ripeness, kept in air, or 20% CO2 (in air), and sampled after 1, 2, or 7 days for analysis of firmness, color, and volatile concentrations. Berries from each cultivar were collected on three separate harvest dates. Flesh firmness measurements of all cultivars tested were higher when treated with high CO2, but the degree of firming was affected by cultivar and assessment time. For example, firmness of `Annapolis', `Earliglow', `Honeoye', and `Jewel' was consistently enhanced by CO2, compared with air, during storage. In contrast, firmness of `Kent' was not affected by treatment after 1 day of storage and benefits were relatively slight at each subsequent removal. Red color development of the fruits was affected by cultivar and treatment period, but not by CO2 treatment. Volatile accumulation varied greatly among cultivars. `Annapolis' for example, appears very tolerant of high-CO2 treatment levels as indicated by low accumulations of ethanol, acetaldehyde, and ethyl acetate in the fruit. In contrast, `Kent' and `Governor Simcoe' accumulated large amounts of these compounds. This study indicates that differences in cultivar responses to CO2 should be considered by growers planning to store fruit under these conditions to extend marketing options. Research supported in part by the North American Strawberry Growers Association.
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