Lysophosphatidylethanolamine Accelerates Color Development and Promotes Shelf Life of Cranberries

in HortScience
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, 1575 Linden Drive, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706-1590

Highly colored cranberries are desired for both fresh and juice markets. Berries accumulate more color when allowed to stay on the vines longer. However, early fall frosts often force growers to harvest before the fruit has reached its optimal color. This is especially true for the berries under the canopy. No product is currently available for grower to accelerate the color development in cranberries. Result from recent studies suggests that a natural lipid, lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE), can accelerate color production in fruit and, at the same time, promote shelf life. LPE is a natural lipid and is commercially derived from egg and soy lecithin. The influence of LPE on anthocyanin accumulation and storage quality of cranberry fruit (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait. `Stevens') was studied. Cranberry plants were sprayed with LPE at about 4 weeks before commercial harvest at multiple locations. Experiments were conducted in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Fruit samples were taken at 2 and 4 weeks after spray application to determine the changes in the fruit color. Plots were wet harvested using a standard commercial method and stored in a commercial cold storage facility. Marketable fruit were evaluated at 1 and 2 months after cold storage to determine effect of LPE on shelf life of cranberries. In general, a preharvest application of LPE resulted in a 9% to 27% increase in fruit anthocyanin concentration compared to the control. LPE treatments also resulted in 8% to 12% increase in marketable fruit compared to the control following cold storage. Influence of LPE on fruit quality was more apparent after 1 month of storage. These results are consistent with the observed effects of LPE on tomatoes. Interestingly ethanol application also enhanced storage quality. Our results suggest that a preharvest application of LPE may have the potential to enhance color and prolong shelf life of cranberry fruit.

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