AVG, as ReTain™, an inhibitor of ethylene biosynthesis, was used alone or with a subsequent application of ethephon (Ethrel™), an ethylene-releasing chemical, to determine if red color development could be enhanced without over-ripening `Gala' and `Jonagold' apples. Treatments included: 1) AVG alone; 2) AVG followed by ethephon; 3) ethephon alone; and 4) control. Silwet L-77 surfactant was included in all treatments. Application of AVG delayed the onset of the ethylene climacteric and red color development of both cultivars. Application of AVG followed by ethephon similarly delayed the onset of the ethylene climacteric, but red color development at the commercial harvest date was only marginally reduced or not affected. The results were similar in both 1998 and 1999, although environmental stress during the growing seasons differed (1998—heat; 1999—moderate temperatures). The delay of fruit maturation and ripening observed at harvest following AVG +/- ethephon treatments improved storability of fruit in controlled atmosphere (CA) storage, as demonstrated by low internal ethylene levels after storage, and high retention of flesh firmness and shelf-life, while control fruit and those treated only with ethephon entered the ethylene climacteric during storage, and flesh firmness subsequently declined during shelf-life evaluation. Chemical name used: aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG).
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