`Washington Navel', `Biondo Comune', `Tarocco', and `Valencia Late' orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Obsek] fruit, harvested at various periods of time, were subjected to ultraviolet-C (UV-C) irradiation at 0.5, 1.5, or 3.0 kJ·m-2 doses and then stored at 7 °C and 90% to 95% relative humidity (RH) for 4 weeks plus one additional week at 20 °C and 80% RH. Following UV-C treatment, there was varying amounts of rind browning and necrotic peel damage, depending on cultivar, treatment dose, and harvest date. `Tarocco' fruit were damaged more easily by UV-C treatment than the other cultivars. `Valencia L.' were the most resistant to UV-C irradiation, showing no adverse effects at the lowest dosage and having the lowest percentages of damaged fruit at higher dosages. `Washington Navel' and `Biondo Comune' oranges showed an intermediate susceptibility to UV-C treatment, with negligible differences between these cultivars. The percentage of damaged fruit after irradiation at the higher UV-C dosages decreased in most fruit samples as the season progressed. UV-C irradiation at 0.5 kJ·m-2 effectively reduced decay development compared with nontreated fruit. Irradiation with 1.5 kJ·m-2 was more effective compared with 0.5 kJ·m-2 only in early harvested fruit. In `Washington Navel' and `Biondo Comune' oranges in the later harvests, treatment with 3.0 kJ·m-2 improved decay control further, compared with 0.5 kJ·m-2. Following UV-C treatments the phytoalexins, scoparone and scopoletin, accumulated in flavedo tissue depending on the cultivar, fruit age, and UV-C treatment. Both phytoalexins displayed a similar accumulation pattern, however, the levels of scopoletin were very low compared with scoparone. Concentrations of phytoalexins rose as the irradiation dose increased. No scoparone and scopoletin could be detected in nontreated fruit. The highest concentration of phytoalexins among cultivars was recorded in `Valencia Late' oranges, the lowest in `Tarocco', with similar intermediate accumulations in `Washington Navel' and `Biondo Comune'. In `Washington Navel', `Biondo Comune', and `Tarocco' oranges, the rate of scoparone accumulation was significantly higher in fruit harvested earlier in the season while `Valencia late' oranges exhibited an opposite trend.
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