‘Honeycrisp’ apples develop the disorders soft scald and soggy breakdown in cold storage, particularly at temperatures below 3 °C (Watkins et al., 2003). Soft scald is a low-temperature disorder that is characterized by sharply defined, irregularly shaped, brown lesions on the apple peel (Meheriuk et al., 1994; Snowdon, 1990). Damage can also extend into the flesh, and the lesions are often invaded by secondary infections. On the other hand, soggy breakdown is an internal disorder. The apple flesh develops moist, brown, and spongy tissue and in severe cases a complete ring can form (Watkins et al., 2004). The two disorders can occur together and, when extensive, can prevent clear distinction of one from the other (Watkins et al., 2003).
Storage at a warmer temperature, in the range of 3 to 5 °C, has been recommended, but it is not always effective in preventing these disorders, particularly with advanced maturity (Watkins et al., 2003). Furthermore, such temperatures can increase the incidence of decay (Watkins et al., 2003) and quality loss in the form of skin greasiness (DeLong et al., 2004). The ability to store ‘Honeycrisp’ apples at a temperature below 3 °C may be a necessity for maintaining quality in storage.
Holding fruit at 10 or 20 °C for up to 7 d before placement in cold storage has been shown to reduce soft scald and soggy breakdown in ‘Honeycrisp’ (DeLong et al., 2004; Watkins et al., 2004). Preconditioning or delayed cooling has been used by storage operators but in some cases without success, i.e., using ambient temperatures during preconditioning in Maine or using a 10-d preconditioning at 7 °C in France (Billote, personal communication). It is not clear why preconditioning does not work in some cases, but the inevitable variation in fruit maturity, environmental conditions during preconditioning, and subsequent storage temperature among different storage facilities may be part of the cause. The objective of this research was to evaluate effectiveness and consistency of preconditioning on occurrence of soft scald and soggy breakdown as well as the interaction of preconditioning with fruit maturity at harvest.
DeLong, J.M., Prange, R.K. & Harrison, P.A. 2004 The Influence of pre-storage delayed cooling on quality and disorder incidence in ‘Honeycrisp’ apple fruit Postharvest Biol. Technol. 34 353 358
DeLong, J.M., Prange, R.K., Schotsmans, W.C., Nichols, D.S. & Harrison, P.A. 2009 Determination of the optimal prestorage delayed cooling regime to control disorders and maintain quality in ‘Honeycrisp’ apples J. Hort. Sci. Biotechnol. 84 410 414
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