Response of Citrus Fruit to High-pressure Washing

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

The effect of high-pressure washing (HPW) on the surface morphology and physiology of citrus fruit was examined. Mature white (Citrus paradisi Macf. `Marsh') and red (Citrus paradisi Macf. `Ruby Red') grapefruit, oranges (Citrus sinensis L. `Hamlin'), and tangelos (Citrus reticulata Blanco × Citrus paradisi Macf. `Orlando') were washed on a roller brush bed and under a water spraying system for which water pressure was varied. Washing white grapefruit and oranges for 10 seconds under conventional low water pressure (345 kPa at cone nozzle) had little effect on peel wax fine structure. Washing fruit for 10 seconds under high water pressure (1380 or 2760 kPa at veejet nozzle) removed most epicuticular wax platelets from the surface as well as other surface debris such as sand grains. Despite the removal of epicuticular wax, HPW did not affect whole fruit mass loss or exchange of water, O2, or CO2 at the midsection of the fruit. Analysis of the effect of nozzle pressure (345, 1380, or 2760 kPa), period of exposure (10 or 60 seconds), and wax application on internal gas concentrations 18 hours after washing showed that increasing nozzle pressure increased internal CO2 concentrations while waxing increased internal ethylene and CO2 concentrations and decreased O2 concentrations. An apparent wound ethylene response was often elicited from fruit washed under high pressures (≥2070 kPa) or for long exposure times (≥30 seconds).

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