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A.N Kaaya, J.K. Brecht, S.J. Locascio, S.A. Sargent, and M. Alligood

Green `Jupiter' bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) were grown in the spring and fall seasons of 1994 on polyethylene mulch with drip irrigation. Seedlings were planted on three dates in each season, either 2 weeks (spring) or 1 week (fall) apart, with N applied at rates of 0, 100, 200, or 400 kg·ha–1. Primary fruit were harvested upon reaching full size (diameter) and the bioyield-point (which reflects bruising susceptibility) measured at the fruit shoulder with an Instron machine; pericarp thickness was measured adjacent to the area where bioyield-point was measured. Dry weight of the fruit tissue was measured in the fall only. Bioyield force decreased with increasing N rate and increased with later planting time in the fall, but did not change with N rate and decreased only slightly with planting time in the spring. Pericarp thickness increased with N rate in both spring and fall, but increased with planting time in the spring while decreasing in the fall. Dry matter increased with planting time, but decreased with N rate in the fall peppers. These results indicate that bioyield force is not controlled by pericarp thickness, but rather may be more closely related to cell size or cell wall thickness, as suggested by dry weight differences.

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A. Raymond Miller, Thomas J. Kelley, and Brian D. White

A nondestructive method was developed utilizing a modified Trebor 101 watercore tester to evaluate the internal quality of pickling cucumbers. The method involved measuring the relative amount of visible-infrared light passing through the longitudinal midsection of whole cucumber fruit. Light transmission was quantified on a unitless sigmoid scale from 1 to 10, with light transmission and scale values positively related. Immediately after hand harvest, size 3F (47 to 51 mm in diameter) cucumbers exhibited transmission values between 2 and 3, regardless of cultivar. Following a mechanical-stress treatment, which simulated bruising incurred during harvesting and handling of cucumbers, the internal quality of the fruit declined and was associated with an increase to a value of 6 in light transmission compared to non-stressed fruit. Light transmission increased as the severity of stress applied to the fruit increased, and high light transmission values were evident throughout a 48 h storage period at room temperature. Light transmission values increased as fruit diameter decreased, but values within a particular size class of undamaged, hand-harvested fruit were consistent. Machine-harvested fruit (size 3F), evaluated just before processing, exhibited light transmission values from 2 to 8, but the majority of fruit fell within the transmission range of 2 to 3. When fruit exhibiting different light transmission values were speared (cut longitudinally into sixths), processed, and then visually evaluated by panelists, spears prepared from fruit exhibiting high transmission values were judged to be of lower quality than those prepared from fruit exhibiting low transmission values. Visible-infrared light transmission may be a valuable tool for detecting poor quality cucumbers before processing, and could allow the mechanical selection of high quality fruit on a large scale basis.

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Charles F. Forney

High-quality cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) fruit are required to fulfil the growing markets for fresh fruit. Storage losses of fresh cranberries are primarily the result of decay and physiological breakdown. Maximizing quality and storage life of fresh cranberries starts in the field with good cultural practices. Proper fertility, pest management, pruning, and sanitation all contribute to the quality and longevity of the fruit. Mechanical damage in the form of bruising must be minimized during harvesting and postharvest handling, including storage, grading, and packaging. In addition, water-harvested fruit should be removed promptly from the bog water. Following harvest, fruit should be cooled quickly to an optimum storage temperature of between 2 and 5 °C (35.6 and 41.0 °F). The development of improved handling, refined storage conditions, and new postharvest treatments hold promise to extend the storage life of fresh cranberries.

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Kevin M. Keener, Richard L. Stroshine, and John A. Nyenhuis

A 5.40-MHz NMR system was used for measuring the self-diffusion coefficient of water (Dw) and the spin-spin relaxation constant (T2) in apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) tissue. The pulsed field gradient spin echo (PFGSE) technique was used to measure Dw, and the Carr-Purcell-Meiboom-Gill (CPMG) technique was used to measure T2. T2 and Dw values were compared for apples with differing amounts of soluble solids concentration (SSC) and with and without internal defects, such as bruising, watercore, and internal browning. `Granny Smith', `Golden Delicious', and `Delicious' apples were tested. In `Golden Delicious', Dw highly correlated with apple tissue SSC (P < 0.002, r 2 = 0.68). This indicates that Dw could potentially be used for sorting `Golden Delicious” apples based on SSC, but the coefficient of determination needs to be improved before it would be commercially viable. There were no measurable differences in Dw among healthy apple tissue and tissue affected by either watercore or internal browning. T2 values showed no relationship between healthy apple tissue and bruised tissue in `Golden Delicious' and `Granny Smith'. However, in `Delicious' tissue, T2 values were statistically different between healthy and bruised tissue (P < 0.02). Further comparisons in `Delicious' between watercore and healthy apple tissue showed no differences. But, there were statistical differences found between T2 in healthy apple tissue and tissue with internal browning (P < 0.01). These results indicate that T2 could potentially be used for separating `Delicious' apples with internal browning or with bruising from healthy apples. Titratable acids and pH were correlated for `Golden Delicious' (P < 0.08). This correlation is significant because one may be able to noninvasively measure pH in `Golden Delicious' apples using NMR, which could then be correlated to titratable acids.

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T.M. Gradziel and Dechun Wang

Rate of brown rot lesion development following inoculation with Monilinia fructicola (Wint.) honey varied within clingstone peach (Prunus persica (L.) Batsch) germplasm evaluated in 1990 and 1991. High levels of resistance were identified in selections derived from the Brazilian clingstone peach cultivar Bolinha. Resistance appeared to be limited to the epidermal tissue. No relation was detected between brown rot resistance and concentration of phenolic compounds or polyphenol oxidase activity in the susceptible California germplasm. An inverse relation was observed between disease severity and rating for phenolic-related discoloration when `Bolinha' derived selections were analyzed. A moderate positive correlation was observed for all germplasm tested between genotype means for phenolic content and enzymatic browning. Any causal relationship, if it exists, between phenolic content and brown rot resistance is obscured by an array of physical and chemical changes in the maturing fruit.

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C.H. Crisosto, W.A. Retzlaff, L.E. William, T.M. DeJong, and J.P. Zoffoli

We investigated the effects of three seasonal atmospheric ozone (0,) concentrations on fruit quality, internal breakdown, weight loss, cuticle structure, and ripening characteristics of plum fruit from 3-year-old `Casselman' trees in the 1991 season. Trees were exposed to 12-hour daily mean O3 concentrations of 0.034 [charcoal-filtered air (CFA)], 0.050 [ambient air (AA)], or 0.094 [ambient plus O3 (AA+O)] μl·liter-1 from bloom to leaf-fall (1 Apr. to31 Oct. 1991). Fruit quality and internal breakdown incidence measured at harvest and after 2, 4, and 6 weeks of storage at 0C were not affected by any of the O3 treatments. Following an ethylene (C2H4) preconditioning treatment, the rate of fruit softening, C2H4 production, and CO, evolution was higher for plums harvested from the AA + O than from those grown in CFA. Weight loss of fruit from the AA + O exceeded that of fruit from CFA and AA. Anatomical studies of mature plums indicated differences in wax deposition and cuticle thickness between fruit grown in AA + O, AA, and CFA. Differences in gas permeability, therefore, may explain the difference in the ripening pattern of `Casselman' plum fruit grown in high atmospheric O3 partial pressures.

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Krista C. Shellie

An instrumented sphere (IS) was used to identify high-impact areas on seven grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) packing lines in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. The packing-line unit operations having the greatest percentage of high impacts were 1) the sizer, 2) when #2 fruit were separated by hand at the grading table, 3) when fruit were dumped from the harvest bin onto the packing line, and 4) when fruit dropped into a collection bin at the end of the packing line. The number of high impacts and the amount of cushioning in high-impact areas varied among the seven packing sheds. The amount of red dye visible on the surface of fruit collected from the end of each shed's packing line did not correspond with each shed's percentage of high impacts or with incidence of decay during fruit storage. The severity of impacts and degree of cushioning provided in these Texas packing sheds were comparable to that reported for 39 Florida packing houses. This study illustrates the usefulness of the IS for enhancing individual packing-line operations and for comparing individual shed performance to packing-line operations in other agricultural production regions.

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Judith A. Abbott, A. Raymond Miller, and T. Austin Campbell

Mechanical stress received by pickling cucumbers (Cucumis sativus L.) during harvest can cause physiological degeneration of the placental tissues, rendering the cucumbers unsuitable for use in some pickled products. Cucumbers were subjected to controlled stresses by dropping and rolling under weights to induce such degeneration. Following storage at various temperatures for O, 24, and 48 hours, refreshed delayed light emission from chlorophyll (RDLE) was measured and transmission electron micrographs of chloroplasts were made. Mechanical stress rapidly suppressed RDLE and induced accumulation of starch granules within the chloroplasts. Rolling usually had a greater effect on RDLE than did dropping. After 48 hours, RDLE suppression persisted; starch granules were no longer evident in chloroplasts from mechanically stressed fruit, but very electron-dense inclusions had developed in the chloroplasts. Storage temperatures affected RDLE levels but had minimal interaction with stress responses. Cucumber lots subjected to excessive mechanical stress likely could be detected using RDLE measurement.

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Carlos H. Crisosto, David Slaughter, R. Scott Johnson, Luis Cid, and David Garner

Maximum maturity indices for different packinghouse conditions based on cultivar critical bruising thresholds and bruising potentials were developed for stone fruit cultivars. The critical bruising thresholds, based on fruit firmness, and the bruising probabilities varied among stone fruit cultivars. In general, plums tolerated more physical abuse than yellow-fl esh peach, nectarine, and white-flesh peach cultivars. Impact location on the fruit was an important factor in the determination of critical bruising thresholds. Potential sources of bruising damage during fruit packing were located using an accelerometer (IS-100). A survey of different packinghouses revealed that bruising potentials varied from 21 to 206 G. Bruising potential was reduced by adding padding material to the packinglines, minimizing height differences at transfer points, synchronizing timing between components, and reducing the operating speed. Bruising probabilities for the most-susceptible California-grown cultivars at different velocities and Gs have been developed. Development of a practical sampling protocol to determine fruit firmness during maturation was studied.

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Ana Morales-Sillero, Pilar Rallo, María Rocío Jiménez, Laura Casanova, and María Paz Suárez

( Garrido-Fernandez et al., 1997 ). Mechanical harvesting in current table olive groves is performed mainly by trunk shakers or canopy contact harvesters and has several difficulties, particularly fruit bruising and low fruit removal efficiency ( Castro