Pressure infiltration of `Golden Delicious' and `McIntosh' apples (Malus domestica Borkh.) with polyamides resulted in an immediate increase in firmness. `Golden Delicious' apples were 2.7 N (0.25 mM spermidine) to 6.7 N (1.0 mM spermine) firmer, while `McIntosh' apples were 2.2 N (0.25 mM spermidine) to 5.3 N (1.0 mM spermine) firmer than the water-treated control. During 28 weeks of storage at 0C, the differences between the polyamine-treated and water-treated apples were even larger. Similar results were observed with a 3% Ca treatment, but the Ca treatment reduced the rate of softening to a greater extent than did the polyamine treatments in `Golden Delicious'. Polyamides increased the endogenous levels of the polyamides infiltrated; however, the levels declined rapidly with time in storage. Both polyamine and Ca inhibited the development of chilling injury symptoms (brown core) in `McIntosh'. The influence of polyamines on ethylene production was negligible in both cultivars. The Ca treatment, however, inhibited ethylene evolution in `Golden Delicious'. Polyamides, thus, may affect apple softening through rigidification of cell walls rather than through interactions with ethylene metabolism.
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