Rheological Basis of Splitting in Carrot Storage Roots

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Fruit, Vegetable and Food Science, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Kirstinebjergvej 10, Postbox 102, 5792 Aarslev, Denmark
  • | 2 The Horticultural and Food Research Institute of New Zealand, Mount Albert Research Centre, Private Bag 92 169, Auckland, New Zealand

Tissue properties may strongly influence the occurrence of harvest splitting in carrot (Daucus carota L.) storage roots, a disorder generally assumed to be triggered by a high water status in the storage root. Strain within the root, as well as extensibility of root tissue by using a materials testing instrument was measured. Strain was estimated after incubation of transverse root slices in water. Measurements of the gap that developed as a result of a radial cut into the center of the slice were then used to estimate strain within the root. Extensibility of strips of carrot tissue was measured through two cycles of extension and relaxation, which allowed both elastic and plastic extensibility to be determined. Strain assessment demonstrated that carrot cells have considerable potential to increase in volume when placed in water. In some roots, phloem parenchyma adjacent to the cambium expanded to a greater extent than tissues at the periphery of the root, indicating that rigidity of cells varied across the carrot radius. Tissue extensibility was predominantly elastic, indicating the cells are unlikely to dissipate some of the strain that occurs during periods of rapid water uptake through plastic deformation. However, these measurements of extensibility were related to the properties of cells along the entire 20-mm length of the tissue strip that was used. Because we demonstrated that mechanical properties can vary within a small distance, it is concluded that future studies into the mechanical properties of carrot storage root tissue will rely on empirical strain measurements.

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