Banana production is geographically isolated from consumer markets in temperate regions. This disparity has prompted study of ethylene antagonists such as 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) to extend marketable shelf life. Banana fruit (Musa acuminata v. Cavendish) were treated with ethylene (100 ppm) in sea containers (24 h,14.4 °C, 90% RH). After venting, one container was provided with 300 ppb 1-MCP (12 h, 15 °C). Controls were maintained in similar containers without 1-MCP. After treatments, ripening was monitored at 18 °C. Color was graded from values of 2 (green) to 7 (yellow, with sugar spots). During storage at 18 °C, control fruit remained within the color range of 4 to 6 (considered the most marketable) for 3 d compared with 6 d for 1-MCP-treated fruit. The time to reach stage 7 occurred at 8 and 13 d, respectively, in control and 1-MCP treated fruit. Sugar spots occurred after 6 to 7 d for both control and 1-MCP-treated fruit. Thereafter, incidence diverged significantly, with 1-MCP-treated fruit remaining below 10% for 11 d and control fruit exceeding 30% by 10 d. Through the first 5 d, firmness (initially 75 N) declined at comparable rates in both treatments, with control fruit declining to 20 N after 15 d. 1-MCP-treated fruit remained near 40 N throughout storage. Ripening variability did not differ within the treatments. Informal sensory analysis showed that some participants preferred the taste and firmness properties of 1-MCP-treated fruit while others preferred the lower firmness of traditionally ripened fruit. The sweetness of treated fruit was only slightly lower than that of control fruit, yet was still considered acceptable. Work in progress is addressing sugar transformations in 1-MCP-treated banana fruit.
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