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Loretta J. Mikitzel, Max E Patterson, and John K. Fellman

Walla Walla Sweet onions (Allium cepa L.) have a short storage and marketing season. Studies to determine viable shelf life and to extend post-harvest life with controlled atmosphere (CA) storage were conducted. Onions were exposed to various CA gas mixtures in combination with heat curing (35°C) and/or chlorine dioxide (ClO2) fumigation, to control disease. Preliminary results indicated Botrytis was the primary cause of post-harvest losses. A 1% O2, 5% CO2 atmosphere appeared to maintain onion quality better than other gas mixtures tested during 15 weeks of CA storage (0°C). Carbon dioxide series above 5% show promise in reducing the 35% storage loss that occurred with the 5% CO2 treatment. Curing for at least 72 hours followed by a 1-hour ClO2 fumigation resulted in the least bulb decay and after 15 weeks of storage (1% O2, 5% CO2), 75% of the bulbs were in marketable condition. Onions stored 15 weeks in air (0°C, 70% RH) were unmarketable. Shelf life of freshly harvested onions was 18 days, after which the onions rapidly decayed. After CA storage, shelf life was reduced to 10-14 days due to rapid sprouting. To enjoy a 30-day market window, disease control is necessary for freshly harvested onions and sprouting must be controlled in post-storage onions.

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Penelope Perkins-Veazie and John R. Clark

The postharvest life of blackberries is shortened by decay, leakage, and softness. Shelf life is shortened after periods of rainfall, and often fruit that appear firm in the field soften rapidly in storage. Blackberry selections of interest for advanced selections from plants without fungicide application are routinely screened for shelf life at Lane by storing fruit at 5 °C for seven days. Blackberry varieties are increasingly being used for farmer's markets, national, and international markets. A rapid test to gauge shelf life of blackberry varieties new to growers would be useful in determining the best type of marketing. Ripe blackberries were harvested from Clarksville, Ark., and transported in 260 g plastic clamshells on ice (about 5 °C) to Lane, Okla. Berries were weighed upon arrival and placed at 5 or at 20 °C for 7 and 2 days, respectively. Overall ratings were considerably worse at 20 °C compared to 5 °C, often with decay on all fruit in clamshells held at 20 °C. Separate subsamples of berries, placed individually in egg cartons and held over water at 20 °C (a 99% relative humidity) yielded Rhizopus, Collectotricum, and Botrytis cinerea growth after 24 hours. Because 2 days at 20 °C proved to cause decay in blackberries too quickly, fruit will be held for 1 day at 20 °C in the next season.

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Mustafa Özgen, Karim M. Farag, Senay Ozgen, and Jiwan P. Palta

Highly colored cranberries are desired for both fresh and juice markets. Berries accumulate more color when allowed to stay on the vines longer. However, early fall frosts often force growers to harvest before the fruit has reached its optimal color. This is especially true for the berries under the canopy. No product is currently available for grower to accelerate the color development in cranberries. Result from recent studies suggests that a natural lipid, lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE), can accelerate color production in fruit and, at the same time, promote shelf life. LPE is a natural lipid and is commercially derived from egg and soy lecithin. The influence of LPE on anthocyanin accumulation and storage quality of cranberry fruit (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait. `Stevens') was studied. Cranberry plants were sprayed with LPE at about 4 weeks before commercial harvest at multiple locations. Experiments were conducted in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Fruit samples were taken at 2 and 4 weeks after spray application to determine the changes in the fruit color. Plots were wet harvested using a standard commercial method and stored in a commercial cold storage facility. Marketable fruit were evaluated at 1 and 2 months after cold storage to determine effect of LPE on shelf life of cranberries. In general, a preharvest application of LPE resulted in a 9% to 27% increase in fruit anthocyanin concentration compared to the control. LPE treatments also resulted in 8% to 12% increase in marketable fruit compared to the control following cold storage. Influence of LPE on fruit quality was more apparent after 1 month of storage. These results are consistent with the observed effects of LPE on tomatoes. Interestingly ethanol application also enhanced storage quality. Our results suggest that a preharvest application of LPE may have the potential to enhance color and prolong shelf life of cranberry fruit.

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William M. Randle

Field-grown `Granex 33' onions were subjected to four preplant calcium (Ca) treatments and evaluated for bulb quality and shelf-life over two seasons. Mature, cured bulbs were analyzed at harvest and after 1, 2, and 3 months of 4C storage. As preplant calcium increased, percentage of seed stems decreased, yield and soluble solids concentration increased, and then decreased, bulb firmness increased. Bulb pungency was unaffected by Ca fertility, except at the highest treatment. Percent bulb rot during storage first decreased with increasing Ca fertility, but then increased at the highest Ca treatment.

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Donna Chrz, Niels Maness, Gerald Brusewitz, and Sue Knight

Pecans, because of their high oil and polyunsaturated fatty acid content, have a relatively short shelf life due to oxidation of the oil. Using a nondestructive supercritical CO2 extraction process, we evaluated oil reduction as a means for pecan shelf life extension. Pecan halves were extracted under sufficient conditions for 22% and 28% oil reduction, and then stored in modified-atmosphere packages with 21% O2 at 22C for up to 37 weeks. Kernel hexanal content and sensory rancid flavor were monitored at various times throughout the study. The resistance of oils to oxidation, indicated by the onset of sustained hexanal production, was increased from 6 weeks for full-oil halves, to 18 weeks for 22% reduced-oil halves, to 22 weeks for 28% reduced-oil halves. Objectionable rancid flavor was detected by the 22nd week of storage for full-oil pecans. Reduced-oil pecans never developed objectionable rancid flavor. Supported by USDA grant 93-341508409, OCAST grant AR4-044, and the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station.

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R. Andrew Schofield, Jennifer R. DeEll, and Dennis P. Murr

Chlorophyll fluorescence responds to a range of environmental stresses that affect horticultural crops. This technique has been used successfully to evaluate the quality of commodities after exposure to a number of postharvest stresses such as chilling, heat, and atmospheric stress. As well, chlorophyll fluorescence measurements have been incorporated as the main characteristics in shelf-life prediction models. Our objective was to evaluate the use of chlorophyll fluorescence measurements at harvest to predict the shelf-life of `Iceberg' lettuce. It was hypothesized that storage potential is influenced by the degree of stress induced by field conditions and that different cultivars, although grown under the same conditions, experience varying degrees of stress that can be detected by fluorescence measurements at harvest, even in the absence of visual differences in quality. The utility of fluorescence measurements was limited by inconsistencies in the development of the heads, such as maturity and leaf formation, and by variation among different areas of the same leaf. Fluorescence data from a homogeneous group of heads revealed that the variation associated with different areas of the same leaf was larger than that associated with measurements from different heads. Also, fluorescence readings from one leaf differed from those taken from any non-adjacent leaves. These sources of variation, along with strong cultivar-dependant differences in the fluorescence signal, were quite large, and hence, any trends in fluorescence measurements related to storage potential were not observed. Therefore, chlorophyll fluorescence at harvest does not appear to be a good predictor of lettuce storability.

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Jeanne Bernardin, Claude Willemot, and Clement K. Sankat

The effect of Ca on breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) postharvest storage was investigated. Mature-green breadfruits were hand-harvested in Blanchisseuse, Trinidad, dipped in 0%, 2%, 5%, and 10% CaCl2-2H2O solutions for 0.5, 1.0, 3.0, 6.0, and 12.0 hours, and stored at 16C for 9 days. Calcium content was shown to increase in both peel and pulp with increasing concentration and length of treatment. The 5% and 10% Ca treatment had a detrimental effect on color and texture as determined by sensory evaluation. The 2% treatment delayed fruit softening, particularly for 3-, 6-, and 12-hour dips. At the end of storage, total soluble solids content was affected little by the treatments, while pectin solubilization was delayed. Breadfruit shelf life was extended from 4 to 9 days with 2% treatments. Peel browning remains the limiting factor for storage.

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S.I. Shibairo, M.K. Upadhyaya, and P.M.A. Toivonen

The effect of potassium (K) nutrition on the shelf life of carrots was studied using a hydroponics system involving rockwool slabs as support. Carrots were grown for 192 days under greenhouse conditions and supplied with 0, 0.1, 1.0, 10, and 15 mm of K. Increase in K concentration in the nutrient medium decreased postharvest weight loss. Carrot weight and tissue K content increased and water potential, osmotic potential, and relative solute leakage decreased with increasing K concentration in the nutrient feed. Differences in postharvest weight loss were mainly associated to root weight and relative solute leakage. Root weight correlated negatively and relative solute leakage correlated positively to water loss. Water and osmotic potential also correlated to water loss, but not as strongly as root weight and relative solute leakage. These results suggest that K nutrition influences postharvest weight loss by influencing carrot size and membrane integrity. Effects on cell water and osmotic potential are also important in this regard but to a lesser extent.

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Diana Niñirola, Juan A. Fernández, Encarnación Conesa, Juan A. Martínez, and Catalina Egea-Gilabert

describing effects of preharvest factors on postharvest quality of fruits and vegetables ( Mattheis and Fellman, 1999 ), too little attention has been paid to the effects of preharvest factors on the shelf life of baby leaf vegetables. It is well known that

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Jorge M. Fonseca, Hyun-Jin Kim, Wesley L. Kline, Christian A. Wyenandt, Murshidul Hoque, Husein Ajwa, and Ned French

reduction of shelf life in fresh-cut lettuce ( Zhang et al., 2006 ). However, previous studies have shown that different insects may or may not induce PPO activity ( Felton et al., 1994 ). Stout et al. (1994) observed different PPO activity depending on