565 Evaluation of the Massive Use of Magnesium Infiltration to Predict Bitter Pit in Apples

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  • 1 Centro de Pomáceas, University of Talca, Chile
  • | 2 Dole Chile S.A.

Bitter pit (BP) is the main physiological disorder of apples in Chile. Its incidence affects pre- and postharvest handling of the fruit and the profitability of this species. Since 1991, its control and prediction have been studied by this research team through field and laboratory trials. The BP incidence is linked to the fruit Ca concentration; however, fruit Ca analysis has not adequately predicted BP incidence in postharvest. Several authors have proposed Ca/Mg antagonism, which has been the basis to develop a predictive method through fruit Mg infiltration (IMG) 40 days before harvest. IMG has been massively used for two seasons in Chile, with 375 samples processed in 1997 and 1170 in 1998. The industry has been increasing its proportion of the samples processed, from 22% in 1997 to 71% in 1998. The most prominent varieties are `Granny Smith' (GS) > `Braeburn' (BR) > `Royal Gala' (RG) > `Red King Oregon' (RKO). The massive use of IMG has obtained predictive capacities (r2 between BP predicted and BP after 3 months regular cold storage) of 0.8 for `Fuji'; 0.7 for GS, BR, and RG; and 0.58 for RKO. (This reduction in the predictive capacity with regards to the previous research under controlled conditions would, in part, be due to problems in obtaining fruit samples: non-uniform fruit size, inadequate sampling dates, diverse fruit numbers, etc.) Developments are underway to increase the geographical coverage of the service, the predictive capacity of the method for certain cultivars and productive areas and the number of samples processed.

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