Accumulation of Antioxidants in Apple Peel as Related to Preharvest Factors and Superficial Scald Susceptibility of the Fruit

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003

Antioxidants are believed to protect against the oxidation of α-farnesene to conjugated trienes in apple (Malus domestica, Borkh.) peel, thus providing resistance against superficial scald development. We conducted three experiments in which apples were a) harvested weekly, during which they were exposed to increasing hours at <10C during ripening; b) induced to ripen with no hours at <10C by applying ethephon; and c) enclosed in paper bags as they ripened. Inducing ripening with ethephon increased total water-soluble reducing compounds and percentage inhibition of lipid oxidation of peel extracts, increased concentrations of α-tocopherol, carotenoids, and ascorbic acid in peel, but only slightly reduced scald. Delayed harvests increased all of these antioxidants except ascorbic acid and greatly reduced scald development. Bagging fruit before ripening decreased α-tocopherol, carotenoid, and ascorbic acid concentrations, decreased total water-soluble reducing compounds, and increased scald development. We conclude that changes in these antioxidants probably are affected more by ripening and light intensity than by low temperature before harvest. Chemical name used: (2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid (ethephon).

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