The variability in fresh and processed fruit flesh color of six clingstone processing peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] genotypes was measured using CIELAB color variables. The genotypes were selected based on the relative fruit concentrations of β-carotene and β-cryptoxanthin. Significant (p < 0.0001) differences were found among the genotypes for the L*, a*, and b* color variables of fresh and processed fruit. Mean color change during processing, as measured by ΔELAB, was greatest for `Ross' and least for `Hesse'. A plot of the first two principal components (PCs) obtained from PC analysis of the L*, a*, and b* variables for fresh and processed fruit revealed three clusters of genotypes that match groupings based on the relative concentrations in fresh fruit of carotenoid pigments. Path analysis showed that variation in β-cryptoxanthin concentration was more precisely determined from color data than β-carotene concentration. Chemical names used: β-β-carotene (β-carotene), (3R)-β-β-caroten-3-ol (β-cryptoxanthin).
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