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Free access

Celso L. Moretti, Steven A. Sargent, Donald J. Huber, Adonai G. Calbo, and Rolf Puschmann

`Solar Set' tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) were harvested at the mature-green stage of development and treated with 50 μL·L-1 ethylene at 20 °C. Breaker-stage fruit were dropped from 40 cm onto a solid surface to induce internal bruising and held along with undropped fruit at 20 °C. At the ripe stage, pericarp, locule, and placental tissues were analyzed for soluble sugars, vitamin C, pigments, titratable acidity, soluble solids content, pericarp electrolyte leakage, extractable polygalacturonase activity, and locule tissue consistency. Bruising significantly affected chemical composition and physical properties of pericarp and locule tissues, but not placental tissue. For bruised locule tissue, carotenoids, vitamin C, and titratable acidity were 37%, 15%, and 15%, lower, respectively, than unbruised fruit. For bruised pericarp tissue, vitamin C content was 16% lower than for unbruised tissue, whereas bruising increased electrolyte leakage and extractable polygalacturonase activity by 25% and 33%, respectively. Evidence of abnormal ripening following impact bruising was confined to locule and pericarp tissues and may be related to the disruption of cell structure and altered enzyme activity.

Free access

Renar J. Bender, Jeffrey K. Brecht, Steven A. Sargent, and Donald J. Huber

`Haden' and `Tommy Atkins' mangoes (Mangifera indica L.) were stored in air, 2, 3, 4 or 5 kPa O2 plus N2, or 25 kPa CO2 plus air for 14 days at 15 °C or 21 days at 12 °C, respectively, then in air for 5 days at 20 °C to determine their tolerance to reduced O2 levels for storage times encountered in typical marine shipments. All low O2 treatments reduced mature green mango respiration (CO2 production), however, elevated ethanol production occurred in 2 and 3 kPa O2 storage, with the levels two to three times higher in `Tommy Atkins' than `Haden'. In contrast, `Haden' fruit at the onset of the climacteric also accumulated ethanol in 4 kPa O2 and produced 10 to 20-fold more ethanol in 2 and 3 kPa O2 than preclimacteric fruit. While there were no visible injury symptoms, off flavor developed in mature green fruit at 2 kPa O2 and in ripening initiated fruit at 2 and 3 kPa O2. Ethanol production was not affected by storage in 25 kPa CO2. Ethylene production was reduced slightly by low O2, however, `Haden' fruit also showed a residual inhibitory effect on ethylene production after 2 or 3 kPa O2 storage, while `Tommy Atkins' fruit stored in 2 kPa O2 produced a burst of ethylene upon transfer to air at 20 °C. Fruit firmness, total sugars, and starch levels did not differ among the treatments, but 2, 3 or 4 kPa O2 and 25 kPa CO2 maintained significantly higher acidity than 5 kPa O2 or air. The epidermal ground color responded differently to low O2 and high CO2 in the two mango cultivars. Only 2 kPa O2 maintained `Haden' color better than air, while all low O2 levels maintained `Tommy Atkins' color equally well and better than air. High CO2 was more effective than low O2 in maintaining `Haden' color, but had about the same effect as low O2 on `Tommy Atkins'. Results indicate that preclimacteric `Haden' and `Tommy Atkins' mango fruit are able to tolerate 3 kPa O2 for 2 or 3 weeks at 12 to 15 °C and that tolerance to low O2 decreases as mangoes ripen. Results also show that low O2 and high CO2 affect mango ripening differentially.

Open access

Elena E. Lon Kan, Steven A. Sargent, Daniel J. Cantliffe, Adrian D. Berry, and Nicole L. Shaw

Datil hot pepper (Capsicum chinense) has potential for increased production due to its unique, spicy flavor and aroma. However, few reports have been published related to postharvest handling characteristics. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of harvest maturity on fruit quality under simulated commercial storage conditions. ‘Wanda’ datil pepper plants were grown hydroponically under protected culture. Fruit were harvested at yellow and orange maturity stages, placed in vented clamshell containers, and stored at 2, 7, or 10 °C for 21 days. Peppers harvested at yellow stage maintained greater quality than orange peppers during storage at all temperatures. Marketable fruit after 21 days for peppers harvested at the yellow stage was 94% (2 °C), 88% (7 °C), and 91% (10 °C); that for orange-stage peppers was 68%, 74%, and 82% for the same respective temperatures. No chilling injury (CI) symptoms were observed in these tests. Initial pepper moisture content was 90%, decreasing only slightly during 21 days of storage; weight loss ranged from 2% to 8%. Soluble solids content (SSC) was greater for peppers harvested at the orange stage (9.5%) than for those at yellow stage (7.8%). Neither harvest maturity nor storage temperature affected total titratable acidity (TTA; 0.13%) or pH (5.3). Respiration rate varied with temperature but not by harvest maturity and ranged from 12 to 25 mg·kg−1 per hour after 8 days of storage. Peppers harvested orange contained double the amount of total carotenoids as yellow fruit. Carotenoid content for yellow and orange peppers was 58 and 122 µg·g−1, respectively. Capsaicinoid content ranged from 1810 to 4440 µg·g−1 and was slightly greater for orange-harvested peppers. Datil peppers harvested at the yellow stage and stored in vented clamshell containers had better quality than peppers harvested at the orange stage after 21 days at 2 °C.

Free access

Fernando Maul, Steven A. Sargent, Murat O. Balaban, Elizabeth A. Baldwin, Donald J. Huber, and Charles A. Sims

The effect of physiological maturity at harvest on ripe tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) volatile profiles was studied using ripening response time (in days) to 100 μL·L-1 exogenous ethylene treatment as a tool to separate immature-green from mature-green fruit. Electronic nose (EN) sensor array and gas chromatography (GC) analyses were used to document volatile profile changes in tomatoes that required a 1-, 3-, or 5-day ethylene treatment to reach the breaker stage. EN output analysis using multivariate discriminant and canonical analyses classified intact tomato and whole tomato homogenate samples that required 3 or 5 days of ethylene treatment as significantly different (P < 0.01) from those that required only 1 day. The GC aroma profiles from whole tomato homogenate showed that 1-day fruit had significantly higher levels (P < 0.05) of 1-penten-3-one, cis-3-hexenal, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, 2-isobutylthiazole, and geranylacetone when compared to 5-day fruit. Analysis of excised tomato tissues showed that pericarp (including columnella) produced an average 219% greater concentration of the 16 aroma volatiles quantified by GC when compared to locular gel (442 and 203 μL·L-1, respectively). EN analysis concurred with GC by showing greater average Mahalanobis distance between pericarp tissue groupings when compared to locular gel groupings (78.25 and 12.33 units, respectively). Pericarp tissue from the 5-day ethylene treatment showed significantly lower levels of 1-penten-3-one, trans-2-heptenal, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, 2-isobutylthiazole, geranylacetone, and β-ionone compared to the 1- and 3-day treatments, Similarly, locular gel from the 3- and 5-day ethylene treatments had significantly lower levels of 1-penten-3-one, 2-isobutylthiazole, and 1-nitro-2-phenylethane compared to 1-day samples. cis-3-Hexenol in locular gel was the only volatile compound that showed significantly higher levels with increasing ethylene treatment. EN analysis showed greater Mahalanobis distances between 1- and 3-day ethylene samples than between 3- and 5-day ethylene samples (32.09 and 12.90, 24.14 and 6.52, 116.31 and 65.04, and 15.74 and 13.28 units, for intact tomato, whole tomato, pericarp, and locular gel homogenate, respectively).

Full access

Marcio Eduardo Canto Pereira, Steven A. Sargent, Charles A. Sims, Donald J. Huber, Celso Luiz Moretti, and Jonathan H. Crane

The ethylene inhibitor 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) delays ripening of avocado (Persea americana) and many other fruits, but there are few reports of the influence of this ethylene inhibitor on sensory attributes. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of aqueous 1-MCP on fruit ripening and sensory attributes of ‘Beta’ avocado, a Guatemalan-West Indian hybrid. Treatment with aqueous 1-MCP at 2.77 μmol·L−1 (150 μg·L−1) for 1 minute effectively delayed ripening by 6 days, delaying the onset of climacteric and lowering respiration rates as compared with control. Treated fruit had greener peel and firmer pulp when ripe, and untrained sensory panelists could not detect differences in texture, flavor, and overall liking between treated and untreated fruit. Immersion of ‘Beta’ avocado in aqueous 1-MCP extended the shelf life to 14 days at 20 °C and 84% relative humidity, an increase of 6 days (75%) as compared with untreated fruit, without compromising sensory acceptability. This technology has the potential to permit shipment of these fruit to more distant markets than currently possible.

Open access

Francisco E. Loayza, Michael T. Masarirambi, Jeffrey K. Brecht, Steven A. Sargent, and Charles A. Sims

This study investigated the effect of ethylene treatment at high temperatures of 30 to 40 °C for up to 72 hours on subsequent ripening-associated processes in mature green ‘Sunny’ and ‘Agriset 761’ tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum). Compared with ethylene-treated fruit at 20 °C, ethylene exposure at 30 or 35 °C stimulated ripening in terms of ethylene biosynthesis and color development, but the ethylene effect was only apparent after transfer to air at 20 °C. There were no negative effects on ripe tomato quality related to ethylene exposure at 30 or 35 °C. However, ethylene production of tomatoes was permanently impaired by ethylene exposure at 40 °C for 48 or 72 hours even after transferring fruit to air at 20 °C; these fruit exhibited slow softening and color development. Our results suggest that tomatoes perceive ethylene at 30 to 35 °C despite impairment of ripening at those temperatures, with the accelerated ripening response becoming apparent only after transferring the tomatoes to air at lower temperature.

Open access

Catherine E. Belisle, Steven A. Sargent, Jeffrey K. Brecht, Germán V. Sandoya, and Charles A. Sims

The postharvest life of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is variable and negatively affected by mechanical injury, incomplete cooling, and poor genetic quality. Lettuce breeders are developing cultivars with a longer shelf life and rely on subjective, destructive, and time-consuming methods for quality analysis. One method of accelerating quality evaluations is known as accelerated shelf-life testing (ASLT), which has the potential to assist breeders in assessing lettuce quality and shelf life. The objective of this research was to determine the quality traits that significantly affect shelf life to develop an ASLT procedure to rapidly assess the postharvest quality of lettuce accessions in breeding programs. In Test 1, Romaine lettuce quality was evaluated using one subjective and five objective parameters during storage at 5, 10, 15, or 20 °C. Results determined that weight loss, lightness*, and hue* angle were best correlated with the overall appearance rating, whereas storage at 10 or 15 °C differentiated the shelf-life potential quickly and without excessive deterioration. In Test 2, these objective characteristics and storage temperatures were used to study rates of quality deterioration of a commercial Romaine cultivar (Okeechobee) and a breeding line (60182), both with long shelf lives, and a Batavia lettuce cultivar (La Brillante) with a short shelf life. Lettuce was evaluated during storage at 10 °C (winter and spring seasons) or at 15 °C (winter season). Weight loss was the most appropriate quality index for lettuce at these storage temperatures for a single harvest, whereas lightness* and hue* angle were the most appropriate indices for comparing quality between harvests. To apply ASLT to postharvest assessments of lettuce, breeders and other researchers should include two controls with good and poor shelf life (similar to ‘Okeechobee’ and ‘La Brillante’, respectively) as standard baseline cultivars during storage at either 10 or 15 °C.

Open access

Jaysankar De, Bruna Bertoldi, Mohammad Jubair, Alan Gutierrez, Jeffery K. Brecht, Steven A. Sargent, and Keith R. Schneider

Florida peaches (Prunus persica) typically are picked and placed in a cold room on the day of harvest, then packed and shipped the next day. This room cooling (RC) is slow, requiring ≈24 hours or more for the fruit to reach optimal temperature (6 to 7 °C). There is currently limited research on the effect of cooling practices on microbial quality of peaches, yet this study is essential for decision making in areas such as upgrading packing house facilities and the implementation of improved handling procedures. This research compared the efficacies of postharvest cooling by RC, forced-air cooling (FAC), and hydrocooling with sanitizer (HS) treatment of peaches to reduce their surface microbial population and to determine the effect on shelf life and microbial quality. Three trials for RC and two trials each for FAC and HS were performed. Following cooling, fruit were stored at 1 °C. The average aerobic plate count (APC) from field samples was 5.29 log cfu/peach, which remained unchanged after RC or FAC but was reduced significantly (P < 0.05) to 4.63 log cfu/peach after HS. The average yeast and mold counts (Y&M) from field samples (6.21 log cfu/peach) were reduced highly significantly (P < 0.001) to 4.05 log cfu/peach after HS. Hydrocooling significantly (P < 0.05) reduced the APC and Y&M counts from the peaches and showed promise in maintaining the microbiological quality of the fruit throughout storage. However, at the end of the 21-day storage period, there was no significant difference in APC or Y&M counts from peaches, irrespective of the cooling methods. Peaches that went through the hydrocooling process and were subsequently packed showed an increase (P < 0.05) in both APC and Y&M counts, while fruit that were not hydrocooled showed no such increase. Information obtained will be used to recommend the best temperature management practices for maintaining the postharvest quality of peaches. A detailed cost-benefit analysis of different cooling methods and the time interval between harvest and shipment are both necessary for a more conclusive recommendation.

Open access

Jaysankar De, Aswathy Sreedharan, You Li, Alan Gutierrez, Jeffrey K. Brecht, Steven A. Sargent, and Keith R. Schneider

Cooling procedures used by blueberry (Vaccinium sp.) growers often may include delays up to 24 hours that can damage the fruit through rough handling and adverse temperatures, thereby potentially compromising quality and, subsequently, safety. The objectives of this experiment were to compare forced-air cooling (FAC) compared to hydrocooling without sanitizer (HW) and hydrocooling with sanitizer (HS) regarding the quality and shelf life of southern highbush blueberry [SHB (Vaccinium corymbosum)] and to determine the efficacy of these treatments for reducing Salmonella in SHB. Freshly harvested SHB that were inoculated with a five-serovar cocktail of rifampin-resistant Salmonella were rapidly chilled by FAC or hydrocooling (HW and HS) using a laboratory model system. FAC did not show any significant reduction (P > 0.05) in Salmonella or in the effects on the microbiological quality of blueberries. HW and HS reduced Salmonella by ≈2 and >4 log cfu/g SHB, respectively, on day 0. These postharvest treatments were also evaluated for their ability to help maintain fruit quality throughout a storage period of 21 days at 1 °C. Hydrocooling (both HS and HW) provided more rapid cooling than FAC. Hydrocooled blueberries showed significant weight gain (P < 0.05), whereas FAC resulted in a slight, but insignificant (P > 0.05), reduction in final weight. The results of hydrocooling, both HS and HW, shown in this study could help to extend the shelf life while maintaining or increasing the microbiological quality of fresh market blueberries. Information obtained by this study can be used for developing the best temperature management practices to maintain the postharvest safety and quality of blueberries.

Free access

Lucianne Braga Oliveira Vilarinho, Derly Jose Henriques da Silva, Ann Greene, Kara Denee Salazar, Cristiane Alves, Molly Eveleth, Ben Nichols, Sana Tehseen, Joseph Kalil Khoury Jr., Jodie V. Johnson, Steven A. Sargent, and Bala Rathinasabapathi

Inheritance of fruit-related traits was studied in a population generated by crossing two heirloom pepper (Capsicum annuum) cultivars, Round of Hungary and Bulgarian carrot. Inheritance of corrugated pericarp phenotype of ‘Round of Hungary’ behaved as a recessive trait controlled by two genes while round fruit shape behaved as a single gene. Pungent cultivar Bulgarian carrot had significantly higher total soluble solids, titratable acidity, antioxidant activities, and significantly thinner pericarp than fruit of Round of Hungary. Pericarp thickness was related to differences in both cell number and cell size. Analyses of F2 fruit indicated that fruit weight was positively correlated (P < 0.01) to fruit width and pericarp thickness. Fruit width was negatively correlated (P < 0.01) to fruit length and total soluble solids and positively correlated (P < 0.01) to pericarp thickness. Yellow color was negatively correlated (P < 0.05) to total soluble solids. Fruit length showed high inbreeding depression and transgressive segregation. Color measurements showed that yellow was correlated to lightness, and the relationships between red and yellow color spaces and carotenoid composition were complex.