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Robert C. Ebel, Edward L. Proebsting, and Max E Patterson

`Delicious' apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) trees received regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) early in the growing season to determine if fruit quality and storage life would he altered compared to well-watered trees. Soil moisture and leaf water potential were lower in RDI trees than in those that did not receive RDI most of the season. Internal ethylene concentration increased logarithmically earlier in RDI apples. At harvest, RDI fruit were smaller and had a higher soluble solids concentration (SSC) and lower titratable acidity. Starch degradation was delayed in RDI fruit, and their color was not affected. Firmness was not affected when the effect of size on firmness was removed. The SSC of RDI apples remained higher during storage, but starch content, titratable acidity, firmness, and color were similar.

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Xuetong Fan, J.P. Mattheis, M.E. Patterson, and J.K. Fellman

Several strains of Fuji apples were harvested weekly from September through October in 1990 and 1991, and evaluated for maturation and quality after 1 and 7 days at 20 °C following harvest and storage in atmospheres of 0.5%, 1.0%, 2.0% O2 and air. Results showed that Fuji apples have very low ethylene production rates and little firmness loss during maturation. A change in the postharvest respiration pattern preceded the increase ethylene synthesis. Oxygen concentration during storage directly affected apple respiration rate after removal from storage. Ethylene production rates and internal ethylene concentrations indicated that the apples were still in the preclimacteric stage after 7 to 9 months storage at 0.5%, 1.0%, or 2% O2. Fuji apples develop watercore and tend to have a particular type of corebrowing during maturation on the tree, or during and after storage. The cause is unknown.

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Xuetong Fan and James P. Mattheis

Enclosing `Fuji' apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) fruit in paper bags 2 months after full bloom delayed the increase in internal ethylene concentration at the onset of fruit ripening, and increased the respiration rate early in the bagging period. Bagging delayed and reduced red color development, especially on the blush side, but did not affect fruit resistance to gas diffusion. External surface color changed significantly within the first 4 days after bags were removed. Exclusion of UV-B from sunlight by Mylar film after paper bag removal impaired red color development. Bagging during fruit development increased superficial scald but eliminated stain during cold storage. Exposure to sunlight for 19 or 20 days before harvest reduced scald incidence in comparison with leaving bags on until harvest.

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C.B. Watkins and J.F. Nock

The inhibitor of ethylene binding, 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) has been applied to `Gala', `Cortland', `McIntosh', `Empire', `Delicious', `Jonagold', and `Law Rome' apples under air and/or controlled atmosphere (CA) storage conditions. 1-MCP gas concentrations ranged from 0 to 2 mL·L–1. Effects of 1-MCP were greater in CA than air storage. A dose response of internal ethylene concentrations and flesh firmness to 1-MCP was found in cultivars such as `McIntosh' and `Law Rome', whereas in others, such as `Delicious' and `Empire', ripening was generally prevented by all 1-MCP concentrations. We have further investigated the effects of 1-MCP on `McIntosh' by increasing rates of the chemical to 50 mL·L–1, and confirming that fruit of this cultivar respond poorly if fruit have entered the climacteric prior to 1-MCP application. Efficacy of 1-MCP is affected by cultivar and storage conditions, and that successful commercial utilization of the chemical will require understanding of these relationships.

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Ulrich Hartmond, Rongcai Yuan, Jacqueline K. Burns, Angela Grant, and Walter J. Kender

Methyl jasmonate (MJ) was tested as a potential abscission chemical to enhance mechanical harvest of `Hamlin' and `Valenica' orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.]. In field experiments, a solution of 1, 5, 10, 20, or 100 mm MJ was applied either as a stem wrap to individual fruit or as a spray to entire trees or canopy sectors. Solutions of 10, 20, and 100 mm MJ resulted in significant and consistent reduction of fruit detachment force and caused fruit drop within 7 to 10 days. Fruit loosening was preceded by an increase in the internal ethylene concentration of fruit similar to that of other experimental abscission compounds. While concentrations of 10 mm and less caused no or negligible phytotoxicity, solutions exceeding 10 mm MJ induced unacceptable levels of leaf abscission.

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Susan Lurie, Amnon Lers, Zohar Shacham, Lilian Sonego, Shaul Burd, and Bruce Whitaker

Untreated control, 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP)-treated, and heated fruit of the superficial scald-susceptible `Granny Smith' cultivar of apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] were compared with respect to scald incidence, internal ethylene concentration (IEC), α-farnesene metabolism, expression of the genes AFS1, which encodes α-farnesene synthase, the final, rate-limiting enzyme in the α-farnesene biosynthetic pathway, and HMG2 and HMG3, which encode isozymes of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase, the proposed rate-limiting enzyme in the mevalonate pathway of isoprenoid synthesis. The incidence of scald in untreated `Granny Smith' apples after 16 weeks at 0 °C plus 1 week at 20 °C was 100%; 1-MCP treatment prevented scald development, whereas heat treatment delayed and reduced scald development. 1-MCP also inhibited both α-farnesene and IEC, suggesting that ethylene induces transcription of key genes involved in α-farnesene biosynthesis. Heat treatment reduced levels of α-farnesene and and its oxidation products, conjugated trienols (CTols), but not to the extent of 1-MCP. Internal ethylene concentrations in heated apples did not differ from those in the controls. In both control and heated fruit, a sharp increase in AFS1 mRNA during the first 4 weeks of storage preceded an increase in α-farnesene and a subsequent increase in CTols. AFS1 transcript was absent from 1-MCP-treated apples for the first 10 weeks of storage, and even at 16 weeks was lower than in heated and untreated control fruit. Levels of the HMG2 and HMG3 transcripts varied during storage and among treatments, and were not correlated with the incidence of scald. HMG2 mRNA transcript accumulation was low at harvest and increased in abundance during storage in all treatments, with the greatest increase occurring in 1-MCP-treated fruit. In contrast, HMG3 transcript was constitutively present at all storage times, although it too was slightly more abundant in 1-MCP-treated fruit.

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Zhiguo Ju and Eric A. Curry

Lovastatin is a specific hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme-A reductase inhibitor in animals and as such, is a potent cholesterol lowering pharmaceutical for human use. Because it has also been shown to inhibit α-farnesene in certain plants, we investigated its effects on ethylene and α-farnesene biosynthesis, volatile production, and fruit color during ripening in `Golden Supreme' apples [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.]. Immediately after harvest, fruit were dipped in Lovastatin solution for 2 min, allowed to dry, and stored in the dark at 20 °C for 30 days. Internal ethylene at harvest was low (< 0.1 mL·L-1) and α-farnesene was undetectable. Both internal ethylene and α-farnesene increased in nontreated fruit during 30 days storage. Prestorage Lovastatin treatment did not affect ethylene synthesis, but at 1.25 or 2.5 mmol·L-1 nearly eliminated α-farnesene production. At 0.25 mmol·L-1, Lovastatin delayed the increase in α-farnesene production about 12 days and reduced total α-farnesene production by the end of storage compared with controls. When applied to nontreated preclimacteric fruit, ethephon at 1.4 mmol·L-1 increased both internal ethylene concentration and α-farnesene production. In Lovastatin-treated preclimacteric fruit, however, ethephon increased internal ethylene concentration without promoting α-farnesene synthesis. In another trial, after 30 days storage at 0 °C, fruit were treated with 1.25 mmol·L-1 Lovastatin and stored at 20 °C with air circulation for 20 days. These fruit accumulated similar amounts of ethylene as nontreated controls, but α-farnesene production decreased rapidly and was not detectable after 5 days. Treating with ethephon at 1.4 mmol·L-1 increased α-farnesene production in control fruit but not in Lovastatin-treated fruit. Lovastatin treatment did not affect the change in fruit color. Chemical names used: [1S-[1α (R °), 3α, 7β, 8β (2S °, 4S °), 8ab]]-1,2,3,7,8,8α-hexahydro-3,7-dimethyl-8-[2-(tetrahydro-4-hydroxy-6-oxo-2H-pyran-2-yl)ethyl]-1-naphthaienyl 2-methylbutanoate (Lovastatin); 2-chloroethylphosphonic acid (ethephon).

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Wesley R. Autio

`Summerland Red McIntosh' apple trees propagated on M.9/A.2,O.3, M.7 EMLA, M.26 EMLA, M.7A. OAR1, or Mark rootstocks were planted in 1985 in a randomized complete block design with seven replications. Fruit ripening and quality were assessed in 1988-93. Internal ethylene concentrations were measured weekly throughout each harvest season. Once each season, fruit weight, starch-index value, soluble solids concentration, flesh firmness, and surface ted color were assessed on a sample of fruit from each tree. Size was smallest for fruit from trees on OAR1 or Mark, after accounting for the effects of crop load with analysis of covariance. Surface ted color was greatest for fruit from trees on Mark and least for fruit from trees on M.7 EMLA. Ripening was variable, but generally, fruit from trees on 0.3 ripened first, and fruit from trees on M.7 EMLA or M.7A ripened last. Crop load impacted ripening, but its effects were removed with analysis of covariance.

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J.P. Mattheis, D.A. Buchanan, and J.K. Fellman

Quantitative and qualitative changes in net production of volatile compounds by apples occurs during fruit development with a major transition to ester production occurring as fruit ripening begins. Ester production during fruit ripening is an ethylene-mediated response; however, differences in maturation patterns among apple cultivars led us to examine the relationship between ester production and onset of the ethylene climacteric in several commercial apple cultivars. Emission of volatile esters as a function of apple fruit development was evaluated for `Royal Gala', `Bisbee Delicious', `Granny Smith', and `Fuji' apple fruit during two harvest seasons. Apples were harvested weekly and analyses of harvest maturity were performed the day after harvest. Non-ethylene volatiles were collected from intact fruit using dynamic headspace sampling onto Tenax traps. Fruit from each harvest was stored at 1°C in air for 5 months (3 months for `Royal Gala') plus 7 days ripening at 20°C, then apples were evaluated for the development of disorders. The transition to ester production occurred after internal ethylene exceeded 0.1 μL for `Royal Gala', `Bisbee Delicious', and `Fuji'. Ester emission by `Granny Smith' apples remained low throughout the harvest period. Increased ester emission occurred after the optimum harvest date (as determined by the starch index and internal ethylene concentration) for controlled-atmosphere storage of `Bisbee Delicious' and prior to optimum maturity for `Royal Gala' and `Fuji'. A relationship between the potential for development of superficial scald and ester production at harvest was evident only for `Bisbee Delicious' apples.

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Chris B. Watkins, Randolph M. Beaudry, Terence L. Robinson, and Alan N. Lakso

ReTain™, a commercial plant growth regulator containing aminoethoxyvinylglycine, an inhibitor of ethylene production, was applied 4 weeks before normal harvest to `Jonagold' trees and the effects on fruit maturity and quality at harvest, and quality after air and controlled atmosphere storage was investigated. When fruit were harvested from 3 to 6 weeks after treatment, fruit ripening was inhibited as indicated by lower internal ethylene concentrations, delayed starch hydrolysis, and lower levels of skin greasiness. A number of factors indicated that other aspects of fruit metabolism were affected by the compound. Treated fruit were softer than nontreated fruit at the first harvest, and the benefits of ReTain on firmness appeared only at the later harvests. Also, at each harvest date, average fruit weight of ReTain-treated fruit was lower than nontreated fruit. We have investigated the possibility the ReTain and/or the accompanying surfactant, Silwet, inhibited leaf photosynthesis, thereby leading to altered carbon metabolism. Trees were unsprayed, or sprayed with surfactant, and ReTain plus surfactant. No treatment effects on photosynthesis were detected. However, leaf photosynthesis rates were generally low and quite variable. Measurements of fruit diameter confirmed that the increase in fruit volume following treatment was ≈2% less on the ReTain plus surfactant-treated fruit than nontreated fruit. The increase in fruit volume for the Silwet treatment was ≈1.5% less than in untreated fruit. The data indicates a rapid change in fruit volume as fruit changed in color. Inhibition of ethylene by ReTain may be an important factor influencing fruit size.