Hybrid avocado cultivars of Indian and West Indian-Guatemalan origin are the main types grown in tropical production areas around the world. More than 60 cultivars are grown in southern Florida, permitting an extended harvest season from May to early March (Crane et al., 2007). Since ≈80% of the fruit is shipped outside the state, quality maintenance over extended periods is critical to growers and shippers (Bronson, 2009; Evans and Nalampang, 2006).
Avocados typically ripen within a few days of harvest (Seymour and Tucker, 1993); however, fruit can be stored for 10 to 21 d at 4 to 13 °C, depending on cultivar (Woolf et al., 2004). West Indian and Guatemalan-West Indian avocado hybrids are more temperature sensitive than Guatemalan and Mexican types and are prone to develop chilling injury when stored below 13 °C, depending upon the cultivar (Campbell and Hatton, 1959). A limiting factor of storing avocados for extended periods is the expression of internal pulp discoloration, a chilling injury symptom that can develop during poor temperature management or ethylene exposure (Chaplin et al., 1983; Pesis et al., 2002). Other reports have noted that application of the inhibitor of ethylene perception, 1-MCP (Sisler, 2006; Sisler et al., 2003) reduced the expression of certain physiological disorders during storage such as flesh discoloration, stringy vascular tissue, and decays for numerous crops (Blankenship and Dole, 2003; Huber, 2008), including ‘Hass’ avocado, a Guatemalan type cultivar (Adkins et al., 2005; Woolf et al., 2005).
Gaseous 1-MCP is commercially applied to fruit held in sealed containers or rooms over periods up to 24 h; however, an aqueous formulation of 1-MCP available for preharvest application shows promise for postharvest application. Choi et al. (2008) demonstrated that a 1-min immersion in a solution of 1-MCP at 625 μg·L−1 suppressed ‘Hass’ avocado ripening comparable to a 9-h exposure to gaseous 1-MCP at 500 nL·L−1. Aqueous 1-MCP treatments at 1.39 and 2.77 μmol·L−1 delayed ripening of ‘Simmonds’ by 33% and 67%, ‘Booth 7’ by 40% and 80%, and ‘Monroe’ by 50% and 83% (Pereira et al., 2013b). Issues of concern regarding commercial postharvest use of aqueous 1-MCP include the necessity for uniform coverage of the targeted commodity, the compatibility of aqueous 1-MCP with other postharvest treatments and potential volatilization into the surrounding area causing loss of aqueous 1-MCP efficacy or unintended exposure of other crops (Choi et al., 2008). Published studies have focused on avocado ripening under ideal ripening conditions (20 °C). However, typical transit shipping temperatures for Guatemalan-West Indian avocado hybrids range from 10 to 13 °C, depending on the cultivar and shipping distance; however, upon receiving at distribution centers, they are normally held at room temperature (20 to 22 °C).
The objective of this study was to examine the potential of using an aqueous formulation of 1-MCP to delay fruit ripening of two Guatemalan-West Indian avocado hybrids under a simulated commercial handling scenario.
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