Direct Sunlight Influences Postharvest Temperature Responses and Ripening of Five Avocado Cultivars

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd. Mt. Albert Research Centre, Private Bag 92169, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 2 Department of Postharvest Science, ARO, The Volcani Center, POB 6, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel

Effect of direct sunlight on the postharvest behavior of five avocado (Persea americana Mill.) cultivars (Ettinger, Fuerte, Hass, Horshim and Pinkerton) was examined. Probes placed 6 to 7 mm under the peel showed that the temperature an the side exposed to the sun could be as much as 15 to 20 °C higher than the temperature of shade fruit, while the nonexposed side of the fruit was ≈5 °C higher than the shade fruit. With the exception of `Ettinger', sun fruit, and especially the exposed side, were found to be most tolerant to postharvest 50 and 55 °C hot water treatments. Similarly, storage of fruit at 0 °C for between 3 to 6 weeks caused severe chilling injury to shade fruit, with less effect on sun fruit. Furthermore, there was little or no damage on the exposed side of the sun fruit. During postharvest ripening at 20 °C, sun fruit showed a delay of between 2 to 5 days in their ethylene peak compared with shade fruit. The exposed side of the sun fruit was generally firmer than the nonexposed side, and the average firmness was higher than that of shade fruit. Activities of polygalacturonase and cellulase were similar in shade and sun fruit of similar firmness. After inoculation with Colletotrichum gloeosporioides (Penz.) Penz@sacc., the appearance of lesions on sun fruit occurred 2 to 3 days after shade fruit. Levels of heat-shock proteins were examined using western blotting with antibodies for Class I and II cytoplasmic heat-shock proteins. Class I reacted with proteins from the exposed side of sun fruit and Class II with proteins from both sides of sun fruit. Thus, it is clear that preharvest exposure of fruit to the sun can result in a wide range of postharvest responses.

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