1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP; SmartFresh; AgroFresh, Spring House, PA) is used widely in the apple industry to control postharvest ripening and quality loss of apples in storage (Fan et al., 1999; Watkins et al., 2000). The product is applied to apple fruit after harvest by fumigating the fruit in a closed space with 1-MCP, which is a gas at normal temperature and pressure (Blankenship and Dole, 2003; Prange and DeLong, 2003; Watkins, 2006). In apples, 1-MCP inhibits perception of ethylene by competing for the binding sites for ethylene in the fruit, thereby slowing ethylene-dependent stimulation of fruit ripening, tissue softening, scald development, loss of acids, volatile production, and fruit breakdown during storage (Binder and Bleecker, 2003; Blankenship and Dole, 2003; DeEll et al., 2002, 2006; DeLong et al., 2004; Fan et al., 1999; Fan and Mattheis, 1999a, 1999b; Lurie et al., 2002; Sisler and Serek, 1997, 2003; Watkins et al., 2000).
With the success of postharvest 1-MCP, interest has grown in the potential for development of a sprayable form of 1-MCP for preharvest application in the orchard and in how such an approach might produce benefits to fruit quality maintenance after delayed harvest and after storage. For the past few years, AgroFresh, the company that manufactures and markets SmartFresh, the commercial form of 1-MCP for postharvest use on apples and other edible horticultural crops, has been developing a sprayable form of this product. A preliminary report by Yuan and Carbaugh (2007) suggested that the sprayable MCP material may have benefit for control of fruit quality loss when harvest is delayed but did not discuss effects on fruit during and after storage.
Aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG; ReTain; Valent BioSciences, Walnut Creek, CA), is another product registered for use before harvest on apples and other crops to delay fruit maturity and control preharvest drop (Byers, 1997; Greene, 2002). This product reduces fruit drop and delays fruit maturity by inhibiting the biosynthesis of ethylene in treated fruit tissues (Baker et al., 1978; Bangerth, 1978; Halder-Doll and Bangerth, 1987; Lieberman, 1979). The trials reported here describe results of applications of sprayable 1-MCP to ‘Scarletspur Delicious’ and ‘Cameo’ apple trees in the orchard and compare the effects of sprayable 1-MCP versus postharvest 1-MCP applications, as well as with preharvest treatment with AVG, on fruit quality after short- and long-term storage.
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