Effect of Surfactants on Pressure Infiltration of Calcium Chloride Solutions into `Golden Delicious' Apples

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Horticultural Crops Quality Laboratory, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD 20705
  • 2 Department of Plant and Soil Science, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37901

The effects of 36 organosilicone and conventional carbon-based surfactants on postharvest infiltration of radiolabeled and unlabeled Ca solutions into `Golden Delicious' apples (Malus domestica Borkh) were examined to devise a more efficient pressure infiltration technique to increase fruit Ca concentration. Radiolabeled Ca infiltration and the proportional increase in fruit Ca estimated by fruit weight gain from Ca solutions of known concentration were significantly enhanced by a range of surfactants having different chemical structures. Tween 60 and 80; Triton X-45, X-100, X-114, X-305, and X-405; and Silwet L-77 and L-7604 enhanced Ca infiltration. The two organosilicone surfactants, Silwet L-77 and Silwet L-7604, known for their greater capacity to lower the surface tension of solutions than conventional carbon-based surfactants, were the most effective at augmenting Ca infiltration. Applications of surfactants to fruit were as or more effective when used as a pretreatment rather than mixing the surfactant with the Ca solutions. The pressure necessary to increase Ca to levels considered sufficient to maintain fruit firmness and resist decay during storage could be lowered in fruit treated with organosilicone surfactants. Sequential postharvest surfactant and Ca treatments may be a practical means of increasing the Ca concentration in apples.

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