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Jinwook Lee, James P. Mattheis, and David R. Rudell

‘Royal Gala’ apples [Malus domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.]can develop postharvest disorders such as flesh browning, senescent breakdown, peeling, cracking, or shriveling during and after cold storage. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of storage temperature and a range (0, 0.25, 0.5, or 1 µL·L−1) of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) concentrations on fruit quality attributes and incidence and severity of physiological disorders during and after cold storage. Storage temperature differentially affected internal ethylene concentration (IEC), fruit circumference, and cortex color. 1-MCP treatment resulted in significant effects on fruit quality attributes and severity of physiological disorders, regardless of storage temperature. Incidence and severity of diffuse flesh breakdown (DFB), shriveling, cracking, and peeling were highest in control fruit stored but radial stem-end flesh breakdown (RSFB) only primarily in 1-MCP-treated fruit. Incidence of RSFB was highest following storage at 0.5 °C compared with 3 °C. 1-MCP treatment had the most influence on disorder incidence/severity or quality attributes, while treatment concentration of 1-MCP was not significant. Overall, the results indicate that 1-MCP treatment can reduce the incidence of ‘Royal Gala’ DFB but may enhance sensitivity to RSFB, when fruit are stored at 0.5 or 3 °C. Incidence of DFB and RSFB are influenced differentially by storage temperature or by 1-MCP treatment, respectively, indicating they may be different disorders.

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Corina Serban, Lee Kalcsits, Jennifer DeEll, and James P. Mattheis

‘Honeycrisp’ apples are susceptible to bitter pit, a physiological disorder that impacts peel and adjacent cortex tissue. ‘Honeycrisp’ is also susceptible to chilling injury (CI) that can be prevented by holding fruit at 10 to 20 °C after harvest for up to 7 days. This temperature conditioning period reduces CI risk but can enhance bitter pit development. Previous research demonstrated a controlled atmosphere (CA) established during conditioning can reduce ‘Honeycrisp’ bitter pit development without inducing other physiological disorders. The objective of this research was to evaluate the duration of CA needed to reduce bitter pit development. Experiments were conducted in 2014, 2016, and 2017 with fruit obtained from commercial orchards in Washington State and, in 2017 only, Ontario, Canada. Half the fruit were treated with 42 µmol·L−1 1-methycyclopropene (1-MCP) for 24 hours at 10 °C immediately following harvest. The untreated fruit were held at the same temperature (10 °C) in a different cold room. Following 1-MCP treatment, all fruit were conditioned at 10 °C for an additional 6 days, then fruit was cooled to 2.8 °C. During conditioning, fruit were held in air or CA (2.5 kPa O2, 0.5 kPa CO2) established 1 day after harvest, for 1 to 8 weeks, then in air. All fruit were removed from cold storage after 4 months and then held 7 days at 20 °C. Fruit from most orchards/years stored in CA developed less bitter pit compared with fruit stored continuously in air. CA during conditioning also reduced poststorage peel greasiness but CA for 2 weeks or longer enhanced cortex cavity development in some orchard lots. Treatment with 1-MCP did not reduce bitter pit but enhanced development of peel leather blotch and core browning for some orchards/years. 1-MCP–treated fruit slowed the loss of soluble solids content, titratable acidity, and reduced internal ethylene concentration. Results suggest the potential for postharvest management of bitter pit development in ‘Honeycrisp’ apples by CA established during conditioning with minimal development of other postharvest disorders.

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Anne Plotto, Mina R. McDaniel, and James P. Mattheis

Aroma and flavor characters of `Gala' apples [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf. `Gala'] were identified by 10 trained panelists. A vocabulary of 13 aroma descriptors and 16 flavor descriptors were used to characterize changes in controlled atmosphere (CA) and air, or regular atmosphere (RA) storage over 20 weeks. When compared with RA storage, the intensity of fruity (pear, banana, and strawberry) and floral descriptors decreased after 10 weeks in CA for whole and cut fruit aroma and flavor. During the entire storage period under CA, aroma of cut apples retained high vegetative and citrus characters but had a less intense anise aroma. Sourness and astringency were significantly higher for CA-stored apples, and sweetness was significantly lower. A musty note was perceived in whole apples stored in CA for 20 weeks. Aroma of whole fruit stored for 16 weeks in CA followed by 4 weeks in RA was higher in fruitiness, banana, floral, and anise characters when compared with apples stored 20 weeks in CA. There was no difference between fruit stored in CA followed by RA versus CA stored apples for flavor and aroma of cut fruit. Changes in descriptor ratings during storage are discussed in relation to gas chromatography and olfactometry data obtained with the Osme method.

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James P. Mattheis, David R. Rudell, and Ines Hanrahan

‘Honeycrisp’ apples are susceptible to develop the physiological disorder bitter pit. This disorder typically develops during storage, but preharvest lesion can also develop. ‘Honeycrisp’ is also chilling sensitive, and fruit is typically held at 10–20 °C after harvest for up to 7 days to reduce development of chilling injury (CI) during subsequent cold storage. This temperature conditioning period followed by a lower storage temperature (2–4 °C) reduces CI risk but can exacerbate bitter pit development. Bitter pit development can be impacted in other apple cultivars by the use of controlled atmosphere (CA) storage and/or 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP). Studies were conducted to evaluate efficacy of CA and/or 1-MCP to manage ‘Honeycrisp’ bitter pit development. Apples from multiple lots, obtained at commercial harvest, were held at 10 °C for 7 days and then cooled to 3 °C. Half the fruit was exposed to 42 μmol·L−1 1-MCP the day of receipt while held at 10 °C. Fruit were stored in air or CA (3 kPa O2, 0.5 kPa CO2 for 2 days, then 1.5 kPa O2, 0.5 kPa CO2) established after 1 day at 10 °C or after 7 days at 10 °C plus 2 days at 3 °C. Fruit treated with 1-MCP and/or stored in CA developed less bitter pit compared with untreated fruit stored in air, and bitter pit incidence was lowest for 1-MCP-treated fruit with CA established during conditioning. Development of diffuse flesh browning (DFB) and cavities, reported to occur during ‘Honeycrisp’ CA storage, was observed in some lots. Incidence of these disorders was not enhanced by establishing CA 2 days compared with 9 days after harvest. 1-MCP and CA slowed peel color change, loss of soluble solids content (SSC) and titratable acidity (TA), and reduced ethylene production and respiration rate. The results indicate potential for the postharvest management of bitter pit development in ‘Honeycrisp’ apple through use of 1-MCP and/or CA storage.

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P. Lawrence Pusey, David R. Rudell, Eric A. Curry, and James P. Mattheis

The stigmatic secretions of pomaceous flowers serve as a natural medium not only for pollen, but also for the pathogen Erwinia amylovora (Burr.) Winslow et al. and other microorganisms. To understand the microecology on the stigma, exudates from cultivars of pear (Pyrus communis L.), apple (Malus pumila P. Mill.), and crab apple [Malus mandshurica (Maxim.) Kom.] were analyzed for free sugars and free amino acids as available carbon and nitrogen sources. Extracts were obtained at different stages of anthesis by submerging and sonicating stigmas in water. Certain free sugars (glucose and fructose) and free amino acids (proline, asparagine, glutamic acid, and glutamine) were consistently predominant and increased during anthesis. Apple stigma extracts were also analyzed for polysaccharides and proteins. Of major components identified for apple, free sugars made up 4.5% by mass; polysaccharides (composed of arabinose and galactose), 49.6%; and proteins, 45.9%. The two largest components are likely present as glycoproteins. This may be the first report on characteristics of rosaceous stigma exudates that includes the identity of specific free sugars, free amino acids, and polysaccharide subcomponents. Discussion includes the comparison of pomaceous stigma exudates to those of other plants and the microecological implications.

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David R. Rudell, Sara Serra, Nathanael Sullivan, James P. Mattheis, and Stefano Musacchi

Physiological variability within a large canopy ‘d’Anjou’ tree results from agronomic and environmental factors. Fruit diversity within the canopy was surveyed using metabolic profiling to identify metabolism associated variability within the canopy. Different portions of the same fruit were evaluated to determine future precise sampling protocols for metabolic profiling of pear. We expected that the metabolic profile of the peel and cortex would be diverse and these differences would highlight specific metabolic pathways as influenced by these conditions. Another focus of this work was developing an untargeted metabolic profiling protocol tailored for pear using a combination of extractions coupled with GC-MS and LC-MS analysis. ‘d’Anjou’ pear fruit harvested from two different zones of trees trained to an open vase canopy were maintained at room temperature for 24 days to observe any changes in external phenotype and metabolic profile. Fruit harvested from the internal canopy were greener as also indicated by high Index of Absorbance Difference (IAD) and hue angle values. Metabolic profile differences between tree positions were widespread and included metabolites from many pathways beyond those associated with peel color. In addition, peel metabolic profile was different depending upon the tissue position (top vs. bottom) sampled from the pears. Specific pathways altered by tree position included those potentially linked to fruit quality and ripeness, including malic acid and aroma volatile (V) levels, as well as light environment, such as flavonol glycoside levels. Present results warrant further future work targeting these changes over time during storage and alongside fruit quality analyses to validate the impacts on ripening and tree factors. In addition, outcomes indicate tissue sampling strategies require consistency with respect to the region of the pear fruit sampled for metabolomics.

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Rachel S. Leisso, Ines Hanrahan, James P. Mattheis, and David R. Rudell

The physiology and metabolism characterizing postharvest chilling and CO2 injury in apple has important implications for postharvest management of soft scald and soggy breakdown. This research assessed differences of primary metabolism related to soggy breakdown (cortex CI) and CO2 cortex injury in ‘Honeycrisp’ apple fruit. Results indicate that prestorage temperature conditioning, diphenylamine (DPA), and CA treatments alter fruit metabolism and affect peel and cortex storage disorder outcome. A preliminary summary of primary metabolism involved with soggy breakdown under high CO2 includes increased activity in glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, propionate metabolism, and alanine, aspartate, and glutamate metabolism.

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Jinhe Bai, Elizabeth A. Baldwin, Kevin L. Goodner, James P. Mattheis, and Jeffrey K. Brecht

Apples [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf. (`Gala', `Delicious', `Granny Smith' and `Fuji')], pretreated or nontreated with 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP, 0.6 to 1.0 μL·L–1 for 18 hours at 20 °C), were stored in controlled atmosphere (CA, 1 to 1.5 kPa O2; 1 to 2 kPa CO2) or in regular atmosphere (RA) for up to 8 months at 1 °C. Firmness, titratable acidity (TA), soluble solids content (SSC), and volatile abundance were analyzed every month directly or after transfer to air at 20 °C for 1 week to determine effect of 1-MCP, storage atmosphere and storage time on apple quality immediately after cold storage and after simulated marketing conditions at 20 °C. The 1-MCP ± CA treatments delayed ripening and prolonged storage life as indicated by delayed loss of firmness and TA in all four cultivars during storage. The 1-MCP ± CA also slightly delayed loss of SSC for `Gala' but had no effect on SSC levels for the other cultivars. There were differences among treatments for firmness and TA content [(1-MCP + RA) > CA] for `Gala', `Delicious', and `Granny Smith' apples, but not for `Fuji'. These differences were generally exacerbated after transfer of fruit to 20 °C for 1 week. A combination of 1-MCP + CA was generally best [(1-MCP + CA) > (1-MCP + RA) or CA] for maintaining `Delicious' firmness and TA. However, the treatments that were most effective at retaining TA and firmness also retained the least volatiles. The results indicate that the efficacy of 1-MCP and CA in maintaining apple quality factors is cultivar dependent and that 1-MCP + RA may be a viable alternative to CA for optimal eating quality for some cultivars.

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Anne Plotto, Anita N. Azarenko, Mina R. McDaniel, Patrick W. Crockett, and James P. Mattheis

Eating quality of `Gala' and `Fuji' apples (Malus domestica Borkh.) from multiple harvests and storage durations was assessed using an untrained consumer panel. Apples were harvested at weekly intervals for 6 weeks and stored in air. Changes due to harvest maturity and storage for overall liking (OL), sweetness, tartness, firmness, and flavor intensity were evaluated over 8 months. A multivariate factor analysis revealed multicollinearity for OL, sweetness, and flavor intensity ratings in both cultivars. These attributes had the highest loadings in the first factor, explaining 51% and 52% of the variance of `Gala' and `Fuji' data sets, respectively, and were interpreted as a quality factor. Tartness and firmness had the highest loadings in the second factor for `Gala', explaining an additional 23% of the variability and reducing that cultivar's data set to two factors. For `Fuji', however, tartness and firmness were independent and included in factors 2 and 3, respectively. Factors 2 and 3 were interpreted as maturity factors, which explained 23% and 12% of the variance. The plots of the mean factor scores provided a multivariate technique to illustrate that panelists could differentiate between the stages of maturity of apples. Canonical correlations were calculated between the sensory and instrumental data. Only firmness measurements were correlated with sensory ratings for firmness (r = 0.53 and 0.44 for `Gala' and `Fuji', respectively).

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J. K. Fellman, D. S. Mattinson, James P. Mattheis, and D.A. Buchanan

Volatile esters from acids and alcohols are important components of flavor and odor perception in apples (Malus domestica Borkh.). We are interested in understanding the biochemical basis for ester synthesis/flavor retention in `Gala' apples held in controlled atmosphere storage. The relationship between acetyl CoA alcohol transferase (AAT) acetate ester-formin activity, non-ethylene volatile emission, and flesh volatile content of `Gala' apples during the maturation period and after removal from CA storage was investigated. At the appropriate times, apples were sampled for volatile compounds in the headspace and flesh using solid sorbent along with purge-and-trap capillary gas chromatography. Subsequently, acetate ester forming activity was assayed on partially-purified extracts of cortical tissue. During storage, the accumulation of the major flavor notes butyl acetate and 2-methyl butyl acetate in the flesh was decreased as oxygen levels in storage atmospheres were lowered. AAT activity is closely linked to the onset of climacteric ripening and is sensitive to atmospheres having low oxygen contents.