Manipulation of storage temperature for horticultural crops is an important approach for reducing physiological disorders and maintaining quality (Jackman et al., 1988; Lurie, 2002; Wang, 1993). Temperature manipulation involves using optimum storage temperatures with pre-storage conditioning, cold shock, or intermittent warming during storage (Al Shoffe, 2018; Hatton, 1990; Lurie and Crisosto, 2005; Lurie and Sabehat, 1997; Wang, 1994).
Managing the storage of ‘Honeycrisp’ apples is challenging for storage operators. At low temperatures around 33 °F, the cultivar can develop symptoms of chilling injury (CI) such as soft scald and soggy breakdown, whereas at a higher temperature of 38 °F the fruit can be susceptible to bitter pit development (Tong et al., 2003; Watkins et al., 2004). The development of these disorders during storage can cause significant economic losses. Preharvest factors that affect susceptibility of fruit to disorders include orchard location and season (Lachapelle et al., 2013; Moran et al., 2009, 2010; Tong et al., 2016).
Reducing risk of CI development in ‘Honeycrisp’ apples is usually accomplished by conditioning the fruit at 50 °F for 7 d before long-term storage at 38 or 33 °F (DeLong et al., 2006; Watkins and Rosenberger, 2000; Watkins et al., 2004). However, bitter pit and greasiness may increase with conditioning, even though there are negligible effects on quality factors such as flesh firmness, titratable acidity, and soluble solids concentration (DeLong et al., 2006; Watkins et al., 2004).
To our knowledge, the effect of initial short-term storage at 33 °F prior to storage at 38 °F on physiological disorder development in ‘Honeycrisp’ has not been studied. Our results from the past few years show that bitter pit usually develops during the first month of storage, but CI first appears after the first month of storage (data not shown). Therefore, our goal in this study was to investigate the effect of initial short-term storage at 33 °F on reducing CI and bitter pit development in ‘Honeycrisp’ apples during storage.
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