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Jennifer R. DeEll, Jennifer T. Ayres, and Dennis P. Murr

This study evaluated the effects of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) concentration (1000 vs. 625 ppb) and treatment delays (3, 7, and 10 days after harvest) on the ripening and incidence of storage disorders in ‘McIntosh’ apples from three harvest times in 2004. Apples were stored in air at 0 °C to 1 °C for 3 and 6 months or in controlled atmosphere (CA) storage at 3 °C for 6 and 9 months. Apples treated with 1-MCP and held in air or CA storage were firmer than those not treated, but this difference in firmness was less with later harvests, more delay before 1-MCP treatment, and longer storage time. Apples treated with 1000 ppb 1-MCP were often firmer than those treated with 625 ppb after 6 months of storage and/or 7 days at 22 °C. Ethylene and carbon dioxide (CO2) production were reduced in apples treated with 1-MCP, especially in fruit from the first harvest and those treated 3 days after harvest. Fruit treated with 1000 ppb 1-MCP showed a slower increase in ethylene production than those treated with 625 ppb during 14 days at 22 °C after storage. CO2 production was the lowest in ‘McIntosh’ apples treated with 1000 ppb 1-MCP 3 days after harvest, but fruit treated with 625 ppb also exhibited lower respiration than those not treated. Storage disorders were most prevalent in ‘McIntosh’ apples stored for 6 months in air at 0 °C to 1 °C, whereas fruit from the first harvest treated with 1-MCP 3 days after harvest developed the fewest disorders. 1-MCP reduced the incidence of superficial scald, flesh browning, core browning, and senescent breakdown, while 1-MCP concentration and treatment delay had varying effects. This research has provided the basis for Canadian registration of SmartFreshSM use on apples at 1000 ppb 1-MCP and for the requirement that treatment be within 3 days of harvest.

Open access

Renae Moran, Jennifer DeEll, and Cindy B.S. Tong

We evaluated regional variation in the Delta Absorbance Meter® index of absorbance difference (IAD) as a measure of harvest maturity and for predicting the occurrence of storage disorders in ‘McIntosh’ apples [Malus ×sylvestris (L.) var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] in 2016 and ‘Honeycrisp’ apples in 2016 and 2017. Apples were grown in Maine (ME), Minnesota (MN), and Ontario (ON), and they were harvested from one orchard in each region, and two to three times each year, followed by cold storage at 0.5 °C for 2 months in 2016 and 4 months in 2017. In 2016, ‘Honeycrisp’ IAD values were similar in ME and ON, but lower than in MN. In 2017, IAD was greater in ME than in the other two regions during the first harvest, and it similar to MN in the latter two harvests and lower in ON than in the other regions. In ‘Honeycrisp’ apples, IAD was more strongly related to starch pattern index (SPI), internal ethylene concentration, and fruit peel blush than to chlorophyll or soluble solids concentration. Soft scald incidence (SSI) of ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit was greater in ME than in MN and ON in both years. In ME, SSI was related to IAD at harvest in both years, but with an inverse relationship with the first harvest and a positive relationship in the second harvest. A positive relationship also occurred in ON in 2017. SSI was not related to IAD at harvest in MN in both years and ON in 2016. Regional similarities in patterns of change in ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit IAD were not consistent from year to year, and this indicates that a single IAD standard should not be used to assess fruit maturity in different regions. In ‘McIntosh’, IAD values were variable among the three regions and were not related to other maturity indicators. IAD was not useful for measuring maturity in ‘McIntosh’ apples, but it was weakly related to core browning incidence.

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Sarah Stephenson, Jennifer DeEll, Dennis Murr, and Rickey Yada

The objectives of this research were to determine if 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) improves fruit quality and extends shelf life of Ontario greenhouse tomatoes. `Beefsteak' tomatoes between breaker and turning maturity stages were harvested from commercial growers in Leamington, Ontario, and randomly sorted into uniform lots for 1-MCP treatment. Application of 1-MCP concentrations from 0 to 1200 nL/L was done at 22 °C for 12 hours in sealed bags. After treatment, fruit were held at 22 °C. Color change, fruit firmness, and production rates of CO2 and ethylene were followed for a period of 2 weeks. Significant differences (P ≤ 0.05) were found in color, ethylene, and CO2 production rates between treatments. However, there were few significant differences among cultivars and growers. This suggests that different tomato cultivars respond similarly to 1-MCP, and that commercial growing conditions and practices may not affect its efficacy. Over the 2-week ripening period, fruit from treatments of less than 300 nL/L 1-MCP exhibited similar color changes while treatments of more than 600 nL/L resulted in blotchy ripening, causing fruit to be unmarketable. 1-MCP treatment led to an increase in the rates of ethylene and CO2 production, two processes correlated with the onset of fruit ripening. This increase was unexpected and other studies showed that 1-MCP delayed the onset of these processes in tomatoes, and inhibited them in other fruits. Tomatoes treated at a maturity between breaker and turning did not respond well to 1-MCP, perhaps due to the ripening process having already begun. This implies that maturity stages earlier than breaker to turning may respond better to 1-MCP, and it may be more beneficial to target greenhouse tomatoes at an earlier maturity.

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P. Guy Lévesque, Jennifer R. DeEll, and Dennis P. Murr

Sequential decreases or increases in the levels of O2 in controlled atmosphere (CA) were investigated as techniques to improve fruit quality of `McIntosh' apples (Malus ×sylvestris [L.] Mill. var. domestica [Borkh.] Mansf.), a cultivar that tends to soften rapidly in storage. Precooled fruit that were harvested at optimum maturity for long-term storage were placed immediately in different programmed CA regimes. In the first year, CA programs consisted of 1) `standard' CA (SCA; 2.5–3.0% O2 + 2.5% CO2 for the first 30 d, 4.5% CO2 thereafter) at 3 °C for 180 d; 2) low CO2 SCA (2.5–3.0% O2 + 2.5% CO2) at 3 °C for 60 d, transferred to low O2 (LO; 1.5% O2 + 1.5% CO2) at 0 or 3 °C for 60 d, and then to ultralow O2 (ULO; 0.7% O2 + 1.0% CO2) at 0 or 3 °C for 60 d; and 3) ULO at 3 °C for 60 d, transferred to LO at 0 or 3 °C for 60 d, and then to SCA or low CO2 SCA at 0 or 3 °C for 60 d. In the second year, the regimes sequentially decreasing in O2 were compared with continuous ULO and SCA. After removal from storage, apples were held in ambient air at 20 °C for a 1-week ripening period. Fruit firmness was evaluated after 1 and 7 d at 20 °C, whereas the incidence of physiological disorders was assessed only after 7 d. Lowering the temperature while decreasing O2 was the best CA program with significant increased firmness retention during storage and after the 1-week ripening period. Reduced incidence of low O2 injury in decreasing O2 programs and absence of core browning at the lower temperature were also observed.

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Dan D. MacLean*, Dennis P. Murr, and Jennifer R. DeEll

Glutathione S-transferase (GST) is a ubiquitous and constitutive enzyme that is involved in numerous cellular activities including the amelioration of oxidative stresses caused by the presence of xenobiotics and reactive oxygen species. In the present study, a glutathione S-transferase was extracted, purified, and partially characterized from two types of pome fruits. Pear (Pyrus × communis L., cultivar D'Anjou) and apple (Malus × domestica Borkh., cultivar Delicious) fruit were tested. The glutathione S-transferase was extracted using traditional methods, and purified using a combination of ammonium sulfate precipitation, dialysis, and GST-specific affinity chromatography. The GST enzyme was subsequently eluted from the column and concentrated prior to characterization studies. A purified fraction from the column was loaded onto an SDS-PAGE gel, and resulted in a single band with an apparent molecular weight of ≈26 kDa. This band was excised and used for MALDI-TOF/MS peptide mass fingerprint studies, and also served to confirm the apparent mass of the protein (25969 Da). The ExPASy software was used for the peptide mass fingerprint study, where the digest of the GST using trypsin was compared to a theoretical digest of an Arabidopsis GST, and resulted in two peptides of significant mass homology. The purified GST was also tested for enzyme activity using the standard assay substrate of 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene and reduced glutathione. Total GST protein extracted from `D'Anjou' pear was 0.532 mg·mL-1, while `Delicious' apple contained 0.127 mg·mL-1. The activity of GST enzymes may play a role in minimizing oxidative stress injury in stored pear and apple tissues.

Free access

Renae E. Moran, Jennifer R. DeEll, and Dennis P. Murr

Preconditioning, holding fruit at 10, 17.5, or 21 °C temperatures for up to 7 days before placement in cold storage, was inconsistent in its effect on soft scald and soggy breakdown in ‘Honeycrisp’ apples in Maine and Ontario. In Ontario, 4 days of preconditioning at 21 °C increased soft scald in 1 year but had no effect in the next year. Five d of preconditioning at 10 °C reduced soft scald and had no effect on soggy breakdown in 1 year but reduced it the next year. In Maine, 5 days preconditioning at 17.5 °C was effective in reducing soft scald and/or soggy breakdown in 2002 to 2007 when starch index at harvest was 5.9 to 7.2. Seven days of preconditioning at 17.5 °C increased soggy breakdown with an early harvest in two orchards but only in one of two orchards with a later harvest. This same preconditioning had no effect on soft scald with the first harvest but reduced it with the second. In the next year, the same preconditioning treatment increased soft scald and soggy breakdown with an early maturity but had no effect with a later maturity in one orchard but not in fruit from another. Conditions during preconditioning and subsequent cold storage temperatures varied from previous recommendations, and this may be why preconditioning was not consistent in our studies and in some cases increased chilling disorders.

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Nadia Hakam, Jennifer R. DeEll, Shahrokh Khanizadeh, and Claude Richer

Chlorophyll fluorescence (CF) was evaluated as a technique to assess chilling injury of rose (Rosa sp.) leaves exposed to low temperatures. In the more susceptible genotypes, variable fluorescence (Fv) decreased dramatically as the temperature was lowered. In the less susceptible genotypes, Fv was more stable and decreased more slowly as temperature fell. Our results suggest that measurement of CF may provide a rapid method to prescreen genotypes for chilling susceptibility, as required in plant breeding.

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Renae E. Moran, Jennifer R. DeEll, and William Halteman

The relationship of soft scald incidence (SSI) with precipitation, temperature, and fruit maturity indicators in ‘Honeycrisp’ apples was examined using 7 years of data in Maine and 6 years in Ontario, Canada. Relative humidity was also examined in Maine. Soft scald incidence was highly variable from year to year ranging from 1% to 85% in Maine and from 0% to 76% in Ontario. In Ontario, SSI was negatively related to soluble solids at harvest (partial r 2 = 0.50; P = 0.0041) and negatively related to precipitation during 90 to 120 days from bloom (DFB; partial r 2 = 0.28; P = 0.0344). In Maine, SSI was most strongly related to precipitation in the 90 to 120 DFB (partial r 2 = 0.53; P = 0.0001), maximum air temperature 60 to 90 DFB (partial r 2 = 0.21; P = 0.0001), and number of hours when relative humidity was greater than 85% (partial r 2 = 0.11; P = 0.0001).

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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.

Free access

Jennifer R. DeEll, Robert K. Prange, and Dennis P. Murr

Chlorophyll fluorescence was evaluated as a rapid and nondestructive technique to detect low-O2 or high-CO2 stress in apples (Malus domestica Borkh.) during storage. `Marshall' McIntosh apples were held for 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25 days at 3C in 1) standard O2 (2.5% to 3%) and low CO2 (<1%), 2) low O2 (1% to 1.5%) and low CO2 (<1%), 3) standard O2 (2.5% to 3%) and standard CO2 (4% to 4.5%), or 4) standard O2 (2.5% to 3%) and high CO2 (11% to 12%). Only 10% of the apples had skin discoloration after 5 days in 1% to 1.5% O2; 80% developed skin discoloration after 20 days in low O2. Small desiccated cavities in the cortex, associated with CO2 injury, developed in 10% of the apples after 20 days in 11% to 12% CO2. Five days in 1% to 1.5% O2 or 11% to 12% CO2 caused variable fluorescence (Fv) of apple fruit to decrease compared to those held in standard atmospheres. Additional exposure did not significantly affect Fv in either the low-O2 (1% to 1.5%) or high-CO2 (11% to 12%) treatment. Our results suggest that chlorophyll fluorescence techniques can detect low-O2 and high-CO2 stress in apples before the development of associated disorders.