Loss of green color (yellowing) in apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) is due to chlorophyll breakdown, an enzyme-mediated reaction conforming to first-order kinetics. Nondestructive measurements of yellowing, using a tristimulus chromameter, were related to chlorophyll content for `Cox's Orange Pippin' and `Granny Smith' apples stored at temperatures of 0 to 35 °C. Yellowing determined by rate constant (k) of total chlorophyll and changes in hue angle, as a function of temperature, increased slowly from 0 to 5 °C, increased exponentially from 5 to 20 °C, reached a maximum from 20 to 24 °C, then declined at higher temperatures. Values of k and the rate of change of hue angle were characterized by a modified Arrhenius equation. `Cox's Orange Pippin' apples harvested early had lower k and lower rates of hue angle change than late-harvested fruit. Values of k and hue angle change of `Granny Smith' apples differed between years but not between harvests. The method used to characterize the relationship between yellowing and temperature may describe changes in other important quality attributes of apple fruit during storage and shelf life and help evaluate the efficacy of cool-chain handling and storage systems.
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