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Charles F. Forney, James P. Mattheis, and Rodney K. Austin

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea L., ltalica Group) produces severe off-odors when it is stored under anaerobic conditions which can develop in modified atmosphere packages. The compounds responsible for these off-odors, which render the broccoli unmarketable, were produced after sealing 50 g of fresh broccoli florets in glass pint jars held at 15C. Twenty-four hours after sealing oxygen concentration dropped to around 0.5% and remained at this concentration for 6 days. Volatile compounds found in the head space of the jars were identified using gas chromatography with flame photometric and mass spectroscopic detection. Volatile compounds produced were identified as methanethiol, hydrogen sulfide, dimethyl disulfide, acetaldehyde, acetone, ethanol, and ethyl acetate. Methanethiol was detected 48 hours after sealing and appears through olfactory evaluation to be the primary compound responsible for the objectionable odor.

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Charles F. Forney, Willy Kalt, and Michael A. Jordan

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Wilhelmina Kalt, Agnes M. Rimando, Michele Elliot, and Charles F. Forney

Recent interest in the human health-promoting properties of fruit phenolics, and especially fruit flavonoids, has stimulated research on how these secondary metabolites may be affected by pre- and postharvest horticultural factors. Resveratrol, although a minor phenolic in many fruit, possesses potent bioactivities, and is therefore of particular interest. To study the effects of postharvest storage and UV-C irradiation on selected phenolic components and antioxidant capacity of cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), fruit of cv. Pilgrim, Stevens, and Bergman, were irradiated with UV-C at levels between 0 and 2.0 KJ·m-2, followed by storage at 9 °C for 7 and 17 d. Total phenolic content did not change during storage. However, resveratrol content was higher and antioxidant capacity (ORAC) was lower at 7 days of storage compared to 17 days. There was no main effect of UV-C on total phenolics, anthocyanins, resveratrol, or ORAC. However, there was an interaction between storage time and UV-C irradiation. Anthocyanin content was lower at 7 days, and higher at 17 days, at UV dosages of 1.0 or 2.0 KJ·m-2. Resveratrol content was higher in UV-C irradiated fruit at 7 days, while at 17 days there was no difference between UV-treated and untreated fruit.

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Charles F. Forney, Leonard J. Eaton, and Leigh Gao

Increasing the size of containers used to transport wild lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) fruit from the field to the processing facility has the potential to increase handling efficiency. Currently the wild blueberry industry uses a standard 18-inch-long × 15-inch-wide × 5-inch-deep plastic container that holds about 20 lb of fruit. This study examined the development of a new, pallet-sized high-capacity blueberry container and determined its effects on fruit quality following harvesting, transport, and processing. Laboratory studies on the effects of packing depth of berries on fruit quality demonstrated that container depths of 14.2 inches were damaging to fruit 24 hours following harvest, transport, and holding under ambient conditions, while depths of 7.1 inches were not. In commercial trials with larger pallet-sized prototype containers, fruit depths of up to 10 inches were not damaging to fruit under otherwise typical commercial handling conditions. Dumping fruit from the 10-inch-deep pallet-sized containers onto conveyer belts at the processing facility caused minimal damage to the fruit. In addition, fruit crushing that occurred in the large pallet-sized containers was similar to that occurring in the standard 20-lb plastic containers currently used by the industry. Results of these studies indicate that large pallet-size blueberry containers with a depth of 10 inches could be used without causing significant damage to fresh fruit during harvest, transport, and processing. Thus as a whole, the adoption of this type of container would improve handling efficiency and potentially the quality of the fruit.

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Charles F. Forney, Sharon J. Peterson, and Preston Hartsell

Callus tissue grown from `Marsh' grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) albedo tissue was grown at 30C for ≈ 40 days. Calli were preconditioned in normal air for 5 days at 10 or 30C before being fumigated for 2 hr with 0, 32, or 48 g of methyl bromide (MB)/m 3. Calli were then held at 10C and K+ leakage was measured after 1, 10, 20, and 30 days. The amount of K+ leaked from MB-fumigated calli was greater than that for nonfumigated calli and increased with higher MB dose. Leakage also increased with time following fumigation. Leakage of calli preconditioned at 30C and fumigated with 48 g MB/m3 was 140%, 196%, and 260% greater than leakage from nonfumigated calli 10, 20, and 30 days after fumigation, respectively. Leakage from calli preconditioned at 10C for 5 days before MB fumigation was less than that from calli held at 30C. MB doses of 32 and 48 g·m-3 increased leakage of calli preconditioned at 10C by 6% and 43% and for those preconditioned at 30C by 99% and 140%, respectively, 10 days after fumigation. In addition to K+ leakage, MB induced the development of a tan to orangish-brown discoloration.

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D. Mark Hodges, Charles F. Forney, and Wendy Wismer

The degree of damage that may occur through harvesting and packing represents one of the major factors that can affect quality of fresh-cut produce. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of different steps in a representative fresh-cut processing line on storage quality of spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.). To this end, spinach leaves were removed at successive points on the line: 1) before entry into the line (control); 2) after a shaking procedure but before initial rinsing with 10 °C water + 5 mg·L-1 chlorine dioxide; 3) after centrifugal drying; and 4) after commercial packaging. After removal from the different points in the line, the spinach samples were stored at 10 °C for 16 days, during which time malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration (lipid peroxidation assay), electrolyte leakage (membrane leakiness), chlorophyll content (a, b, and total), and color attributes (L, saturation, hue angle) were measured. Both lipid peroxidation and electrolyte leakage increased with time of storage and with stage of procesing. Electrolyte leakage increased most in material removed after the shaking procedure, but prior to hydrocooling. Overall total chlorophyll loss during storage did not change with time of removal from the processing line, although overall chlorophyll b content decreased in stored material 8 days following centrifugal drying and packaging. A more rapid loss in chlorophyll a relative to chlorophyll b over the first 8 days of storage was reflected in hue angle measurements regardless of the point of removal. The processing line under study, thus had both beneficial and detrimental effects on storage quality of spinach. Detrimental effects associated with centrifugal drying and packaging procedures could be modified to improve quality.

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Jun Song, Lihua Fan, Paul D. Hildebrand, and Charles F. Forney

The biological effect of corona discharge on onions (Allium cepa L.) in a commercial storage was investigated. Surface discoloration and mold were modestly but significantly reduced by the corona discharge when onions were stored for 2 or 4 weeks with or without an additional 2 weeks of shelf life under high humidity. Corona discharge treatment also reduced airborne mold spores in the storage room. No significant changes in internal decay, firmness, sprouting, or rooting, in treated onions were found.

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Lihua Fan, Jun Song, Charles F. Forney, and Michael A. Jordan

Ethanol concentration and chlorophyll fluorescence (CF) were measured as signs of heat stress in apple fruit [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.]. `McIntosh', `Cortland', `Jonagold', and `Northern Spy' apples were placed in trays and exposed to 46 °C for 0, 4, 8, or 12 hours. Following treatments, fruit were stored in air at 0 °C and evaluated after 0, 1, 2, or 3 months. Ethanol and ethylene production, CF, peel and flesh browning, firmness, skin color, soluble solids, and titratable acidity were measured. Increases in ethanol were apparent immediately following 12-hour heat treatments as well as after 3 months. After 3 months, ethanol concentrations were 16-, 52-, 6-, and 60-fold higher in `McIntosh', `Cortland', `Jonagold', and `Northern Spy' apples than in controls, respectively. The concentrations of ethanol accumulated reflected the degree of heat-induced fruit injury. Heat treatments reduced ethylene production relative to control values. After 3 months of storage ethylene production of fruit exposed to 46 °C for 12 h was <0.48 μmol·kg-1·h-1 compared to >4.3 μmol·kg-1·h-1 for controls. Heat treatments also reduced CF which was expressed as Fv/Fm, where Fv is the difference between the maximal and the minimal fluorescence (Fm - Fo), and Fm is the maximal fluorescence. After 3 months storage at 0 °C, Fv/Fm was ≈0.2 in fruit held at 46 °C for 12 hours compared with 0.5-0.6 for control fruit. Exposure to 46 °C for 12 hours caused severe peel and flesh browning in all cultivars. Severity of peel and flesh browning increased with increasing duration of heat treatment and subsequent storage at 0 °C. `Northern Spy' apple fruit were most susceptible to heat stress based on the degree of flesh browning. Heat treatments of 8 and 12 hours reduced firmness of `McIntosh', `Cortland', and `Northern Spy', but not `Jonagold' apples. Hue angle of the green side of fruit was also reduced in `Cortland', Jonagold' and `Northern Spy' apples receiving the 8- and 12-hour treatments. Heat treatments caused a decrease in fruit tiratable acidity, but had no effect on soluble solids content. The increase in ethanol production and decrease in CF correlated with heat-induced injury, and were apparent before browning was visually apparent. Ethanol and CF have the potential to be used to nondestructively predict the severity of injury that develops during storage.

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Charles F. Forney, Michael A. Jordan, Kumudini U.K.G. Nicholas, and Jennifer R. DeEll

Use of volatile emissions and chlorophyll fluorescence as indicators of freezing injury were investigated for apple fruit (Malus ×domestica Borkh.). `Northern Spy' and `Delicious' apples were kept at -8.5 °C for 0, 6, or 24 h, and then at 20 °C. After 1, 2, 5, and 7 d at 20 °C, fruit were analyzed for firmness, skin and flesh browning, soluble solid content, titratable acidity, ethanol, ethyl acetate, ethylene, respiration rate, and chlorophyll fluorescence. Freezing caused skin and flesh browning and a loss of fruit firmness, which was greater in `Northern Spy' than in `Delicious'. In `Northern Spy' fruit subjected to the freezing treatments, ethanol and ethyl acetate concentrations were as much as 37- and 300-fold greater, respectively, than in control fruit. `Delicious' fruit showed similar patterns of ethanol and ethyl acetate increase, but of lower magnitude, as a result of freezing. Higher fruit respiratory quotients were associated with increased ethanol and ethyl acetate concentrations. Ethylene production and chlorophyll fluorescence of fruit were reduced by freezing.

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Charles F. Forney, Kumudini U.K.G. Nicholas, and Michael A. Jordan

Factors affecting the firmness of `Burlington', `Coville', and `Jersey' highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) during storage in controlled atmospheres or air were characterized. Fruit were stored for up to 9 weeks in 6-ounce plastic clamshells at 0 or 3 °C. Fruit firmness was measured as grams per millimeter of fruit deformation using a FirmTech1 firmness tester (Bioworks, Stillwater, Okla.). Blueberry fruit held in sealed chambers in 0% CO2/15% O2 did not soften during storage. At 0 and 3 °C, fruit firmness of all cultivars increased an average of 30% after 9 weeks of storage. Changes in fruit firmness varied between cultivars and ranged from no change in `Coville' fruit held at 3 °C to an increase in firmness of 9 g·mm–1 per week in `Burlington' fruit held at 3 °C. CO2 inhibited the postharvest firming of blueberry fruit and at higher concentrations induced softening. At 0 °C, fruit firmness decreased below initial values when held in concentrations of CO2 >12% for `Burlington' and >10% for `Coville' and `Jersey'. At 3 °C, fruit were more tolerant to CO2 and softening occurred at CO2 concentration >17% for `Burlington', and >12% for `Coville' and `Jersey' fruit. CO2-induced softening was enhanced by increased storage time. CO2 also was effective in reducing fruit decay. After 9 weeks, 2% and 36% of fruit held in air at 0 and 3 °C, respectively, were decayed. However, all fruit held in 10 to 25% CO2 had <1% decay. Controlled atmospheres of 10% to 15% CO2 reduced decay while maintaining fruit firmness.