Harvest Date, Cultivar, Orchard, and Tree Effects on Water Vapor Permeance in Apples

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Research quantified contributions to total variation in water vapor permeance from sources such as cultivar and harvest date in `Braeburn', `Pacific Rose', `Granny Smith', and `Cripps Pink' apples [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.]. In a study on `Braeburn' fruit from eight orchards in Central Otago, New Zealand, >50% of the total variation in permeance was associated with harvest date. This variation was the result of a large increase in water vapor permeance from 16.6 to 30.2 (se = 0.88, df = 192) nmol·s-1·m-2·Pa-1 over the 8 week experimental harvest period. Fruit to fruit differences accounted for 22% of total variation in permeance. Interaction between harvest date and orchard effects explained 7% of the total variation, indicating that fruit from the different orchards responded in differing ways to advancing harvest date. Tree effects accounted for only 1% of the total variation. Weight loss from respiration [at 20 °C and ≈60% relative humidity (RH)] comprised 3.04±0.11% of total weight loss, averaged across all harvest dates. In a second study of fruit of four apple cultivars, almost 30% of the total variation in water vapor permeance was associated with cultivar differences. Mean water vapor permeance for `Braeburn', `Pacific Rose', `Granny Smith', and `Cripps Pink' fruit was 44, 35, 17, and 20 (se = 4.3, df = 300) nmol·s-1·m-2·Pa-1 respectively. Over 20% of the total variation was associated with harvest date and arose from a large increase in water vapor permeance from 21 nmol·s-1·m-2·Pa-1 at first harvest to 46 nmol·s-1·m-2·Pa-1 (se = 5.3, df = 200) at final harvest, 10 weeks later, on average across all four cultivars. There was large fruit to fruit variation in water vapor permeance accounting for 25% of the total variation in permeance values. Tree effects only accounted for 4% of the total variation. Water vapor permeance in `Pacific Rose'` and `Braeburn' increased substantially with later harvest but values remained relatively constant for `Granny Smith' and `Cripps Pink'. A simple mathematical model was developed to predict weight loss from `Braeburn' fruit. Based on these findings, it appears worthwhile to increase the stringency of measures to control weight loss in `Braeburn' and `Pacific Rose'` apples, particularly those harvested late in the season.

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