Fruit of `Redchief Delicious' apple [Malus sylvestris (L) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] were harvested 1 week before the climacteric (harvest 1), at the onset of the climacteric (harvest 2), and 1 week after the onset of the climacteric (harvest 3). Fruit were stored at 0, 5, 10, 15, or 20 °C and were treated with 0.7 μL·L-1 1-MCP on a once-per-week, once-per-2-week, once-per-month, and once-per-year basis or were left nontreated. The initial 1-MCP treatment was at 20 °C and subsequent applications were at storage temperatures. The compound slowed softening at all temperatures relative to nontreated fruit, however as temperature decreased, the benefits of 1-MCP application became less pronounced. Effectiveness of 1-MCP declined slightly as harvest maturity increased. Efficacy of 1-MCP treatment increased with greater frequency of application at 5, 10, 15, and 20 °C, but not at 0 °C. Fruit stored without refrigeration (20 °C) for more than 100 days did not soften significantly when treated once per week with 1-MCP. However, decay was a significant problem for treated and nontreated fruit stored at temperatures >5 °C; 1-MCP application reduced, but did not prevent decay. Rate of decline in titratable acidity increased with storage temperature and 1-MCP had no significant effect on retarding the decline in acid content. Minimal (Fo) and maximal (Fm) chlorophyll fluorescence was altered markedly by 1-MCP application, but the ratio of (Fm-Fo)/Fm was only slightly affected. The most effective 1-MCP treatment frequency was once per week and, at all elevated temperatures (5, 10, 15, and 20 °C), slowed loss of firmness to a greater extent than refrigeration (0 °C) alone. Application of 1-MCP resulted in greater retention of firmness than controlled atmosphere (CA) with O2 and CO2 at 1.5 kPa and 3 kPa, respectively. Data suggest that 1-MCP application, has the potential to reduce reliance on refrigeration and CA storage for maintaining firmness of `Redchief Delicious' apple, especially for relatively short storage durations (<50 days) when fruit are harvested within a week of the ethylene climacteric. Chemical name used: 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP).
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