564 The Influence of Preharvest Treatments with ReTain™ (An Ethylene Biosynthesis Inhibitor) on the Fruit Maturation and Quality of `Royal Gala' Apple in New Zealand

in HortScience
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  • 1 HortResearch, Private Bag 1401, Havelock North, New Zealand
  • | 2 HortResearch, Old Mill Road, RD3, Motueka, New Zealand
  • | 3 HortResearch, Earnscleugh Road, RD1, Alexandra, New Zealand

ReTain™ is a plant bioregulator containing the active ingredient aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG), which inhibits the ethylene biosynthesis pathway. In 1997, the first efficacy studies on `Royal Gala' apple with ReTain™ were conducted under New Zealand conditions in Hawkes Bay. ReTain™ was applied 4 weeks before the anticipated start of harvest on `Royal Gala' at 850 and 1700 g·ha–1 with or without adjuvants. ReTain™ application delayed the onset of `Royal Gala' fruit maturation between 1 and 2 weeks, resulting in enhanced fruit size and fruit flesh firmness at harvest. The optimum response for delaying the onset of fruit maturation was achieved using ReTain™ at 850 g·ha–1 if applied in combination with a wetter. Fruit were also graded for fruit quality and air-stored at 0.5 °C. Fruit after 10 weeks of storage showed no difference in fruit flesh firmness, but all ReTain™ treatments had fruit with less yellow background colour compared with untreated fruit. In 1998, efficacy studies were undertaken in three geographical locations on `Royal Gala'. ReTain™ was applied at a rate of 830 g·ha–1 in combination with Silwet L-77 at 0.1%. All trees with the exception of `Royal Gala' grown in the Hawkes Bay had not received any ReTain™ previously. In all regions, seasonal changes in background color and starch pattern index were delayed by ReTain™ treatment. A concurrent delay of an increase in soluble solids concentration and retention of higher flesh firmness were also induced by ReTain™ treatment.

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