Pilot Test for the Commercial Use of Postharvest Pressure Infiltration of Calcium into Apples to Maintain Fruit Quality in Storage

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  • 1 Research Plant Pathologist, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705.
  • | 2 Associate Professor, Department of Plant and Soil Science, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37901.
  • | 3 Biological Laboratory Technician, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705.
  • | 4 Research Assistant, Department of Plant and Soil Science, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37901.
  • | 5 Research Associate, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD, 20705.
  • | 6 Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Plant and Soil Science, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37901.

A pilot test was conducted over a 3-year period to determine the feasibility of using postharvest pressure infiltration of calcium into apples to maintain and/or improve the quality of fruit under commercial storage conditions. Fruits obtained from three different orchards were treated each year. `Golden Delicious' fruits were treated the first year, while `Delicious' fruits were treated the 2nd and 3rd years. In all treatments and years, there was a significant increase in calcium concentration of apples from all calcium chloride (CaCl2) treatments. In general, calcium concentration of treated fruit varied significantly among the three orchards. Firmness also varied among orchards, and was related to fruit calcium concentration. `Golden Delicious' apples were more susceptible to skin injury caused by CaCl2 treatment than were `Delicious' fruits. There was also an increase in infection as a result of some of the treatments, possibly due to injury caused to lenticels by the pressure applied or as a result of calcium injury.

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