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

Chlorophyll fluorescence, measured using a Plant Productivity Fluorometer Model SF-20 (Richard Brancker Research, Ottawa, Ont.), was evaluated as a rapid and nondestructive technique to detect low O2 and/or high CO2 stress in apples during storage. `Marshall' McIntosh apples were held for 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25 days at 3C in the following four treatments: standard O2 (2.5% to 3%) and low CO2 (<1%); low O2 (1% to 1.5%) and low CO2 (<1%); standard O2 (2.5% to 3%) and standard CO2 (4% to 4.5%); or 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, while 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. Both 1% to 1.5% O2 and 11% to 12% CO2 for 5 days caused chlorophyll fluorescence [Fv = (P – T)/P] of apple fruit to decrease, as compared to those held in standard atmospheres. Additional exposure time did not significantly affect Fv in either the low-O2 (1% to 1.5%) or high-CO2 (11% to 12%) treatment. The results of this study suggest that chlorophyll fluorescence can detect low-O2 and high-CO2 stress in apples, prior to the development of associated physiological disorders.

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Jennifer R. DeEll, H.P. Vasantha Rupasinghe, and Dennis P. Murr

`Cortland' is an apple cultivar with inherent poor storeability because of excessive vulnerability to the development of superficial scald in long-term storage. The objectives of this investigation were to evaluate the potential of the potent ethylene action inhibitor 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP; EthylBloc®) to counteract this constraint and to develop some basic procedures for its exposure. Eight hours after harvest, fruit were exposed to 1.0 mL·L–1 1-MCP for 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 16, 24, or 48 h at 3, 13, or 23 °C. Following exposure, fruit were placed at 0 to 1 °C in air for 120 days, after which time they were removed to 20 °C and held 7 days for post-storage assessment of ripening and to allow development of physiological disorders. In general, and within our experimental limits, the higher the temperature of 1-MCP exposure the shorter the required exposure time to obtain similar effects. The desired effectiveness of 1-MCP could be achieved by exposing fruit for at least 3 h at 23 °C, for 6 h at 13 °C, or for 9 h at 3 °C. 1-MCP-treated apples were consistently 2 kg firmer than untreated apples. Scald incidence in untreated fruit after 120 days at 0 to 1 °C and 7 days at 20 °C was 100%, whereas 1-MCP reduced scald by 95% in treatments of long enough duration at any particular temperature.

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

Traditional hand compression firmness scores of iceberg lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) heads were compared with force-deformation data collected from parallel-plate compression tests conducted with a universal testing machine. Sample deformation was measured over a load range of 30 to 40 N. A quadratic response surface best described the relationship between hand firmness scores (1 to 5 scale) and three measurements of sample deformation (mm). Sample deformation was as precise as hand compression in measuring lettuce firmness, and it provided improved reproducibility by eliminating much of the human error. Although adequate for most firm heads, the predictive ability of the statistical model was weak for soft heads (when the hand firmness score was <2), and for heads with inconsistencies in firmness because of uneven leaf distribution. The minimum sample size required to determine accurately the mean firmness score (±0.5 units) of a population of harvested lettuce was ≈20 heads. This may be a disadvantage, since sampling one head requires ≈1.5 minutes. Overall, the instrument-based method measures lettuce firmness as precisely as the hand compression method, and provides a standardized, objective measurement for postharvest researchers when exchanging or reporting firmness data.

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Robert K. Prange, Peter A. Harrison, and Jennifer R. DeEll

In a 2-year study, `McIntosh' apples were stored in a CA regime of 4.5% CO2 + 2.5% O2. Within the CA cabinets there were three humidity levels: >75% RH (CaCl2 salt in the chamber), >90% RH (ambient), or >95% RH (distilled water in the chamber). After removal at 4 and 8 months, the fruit were warmed to handling temperatures of 0C, 10C, or 20C and subjected to three levels of impact bruising of 0, 10, or 20 lb with a Ballauf pressure tester with a 1.5 × 1.5-cm tip. The results showed that low-humidity CA storage decreased visible bruising. Although visible shrivel was not observed, the low-humidity treatment may increase the possibility of its occurrence. Respiration, measured as O2 consumption or CO2 production immediately after removal from CA storage, was lowest in low humidity (>75% RH) and highest in ambient humidity (>90% RH) CA storage. The humidity treatments did not affect firmness, soluble solids, titratable acids, or ethylene production. Increasing the temperature during post-storage handling decreased the amount of visible bruising without affecting other variates such as firmness, soluble solids, titratable acids, respiration, or ethylene production.

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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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Harmander Pal Singh*, Dennis P. Murr, Gopi Paliyath, and Jennifer R. DeEll

`Gala' apples (Malus × domestica Borkh) were harvested at optimum maturity for long-term storage, precooled overnight at 0 °C, treated with 1 μL·L-1; 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) for 24 hours at 0 °C, and then placed in controlled atmosphere (CA) to determine the storage regime that would have the least negative impact on post-storage aroma volatile production. Fruit were stored at 0° and 2.5° C in ultra low oxygen (0.6% O2 -0.6% CO2; ULOCA), low oxygen (1.2% O2 -1.2% CO2; LOCA) and standard (2.5% O2 -2.5% CO2; SCA) CA for 120 and 240 days, and in ambient air for 60, 90, 120 and 150 days. Post-storage fruit volatiles were quantified by headspace analysis using a solid-phase micro-extraction (SPME) probe and FID-GC, and key volatiles were identified by GC-MS. Fruit volatile production was greatest at harvest, and decreased thereafter for fruit held in air and CA for up to 150 or 240 days, respectively. 1-MCP treatment resulted in reduced rates of respiration, ethylene and volatile production, regardless of storage regime, and resulted in a reduced production rate of all the major volatile compounds, including esters, alcohols, acids, aldehydes and ketones. Post-storage volatile production was the least in fruits removed from 0 °C in ULO, followed by LO, SCA, and then air. 1-MCP treatment inhibited post-storage volatile production in CA- and air-stored fruit by as much as 95 percent. However, recovery of aroma was delayed significantly in fruit which had been held at 0 °C vs. 2.5 ° C, suggesting aroma volatile synthesis in `Gala' is chilling sensitive.

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Shahrokh Khanizadeh, François Laurens, Yves Lespinasse, Yvon Groleau, Johanne Cousineau, Odile Carisse, and Jennifer DeEll

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Shahrokh Khanizadeh, François Laurens, Yves Lespinasse, Yvon Groleau, Johanne Cousineau, Odile Carisse, and Jennifer DeEll

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Maude Lachapelle, Gaétan Bourgeois, Jennifer R. DeEll, Katrine A. Stewart, and Philippe Séguin

‘Honeycrisp’ is a relatively new apple cultivar highly susceptible to physiological disorders, such as soggy breakdown. The overall objective of this study was to identify preharvest weather parameters that influence the incidence of soggy breakdown over the different phases of fruit development. Using weather data and evaluation of fruit quality from three sites in Ontario, two sites in Quebec, and one site in Nova Scotia from 2009 to 2011, and data from four sites in Ontario from 2002 to 2006, a model for soggy breakdown incidence (SBI) was developed to predict the level of susceptibility in ‘Honeycrisp’ apples. This model uses primarily two weather variables during the last phase of fruit development [91 days from full bloom (DFB) to harvest] to accumulate an SBI index during the growing season, from full bloom to harvest. Cool (temperature <5 °C) and wet conditions (precipitation >0.5 mm) during this last phase resulted in increased soggy breakdown susceptibility levels. The predictions of the SBI model resulted in 68% of well-estimated cases (threshold of ±5%) (RMSE = 6.45, EF = 0.28, E = −0.04). Furthermore, firmness was linked to soggy breakdown, in addition to weather conditions, revealing a positive effect of high firmness at harvest on the development of the disorder. However, the effect of fruit quality attributes (e.g., internal ethylene concentration, starch index, firmness, and soluble solid content) by themselves, without considering weather conditions, revealed no relationship with the incidence of soggy breakdown.

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Charles F. Forney, Michael A. Jordan, Kumudini U.K.G. Nicholas, and Jennifer R. DeEll

Use of volatile emissions and chlorophyll fluorescence as indicators of freezing injury were investigated for apple fruit (Malus ×domestica Borkh.). `Northern Spy' and `Delicious' apples were kept at -8.5 °C for 0, 6, or 24 h, and then at 20 °C. After 1, 2, 5, and 7 d at 20 °C, fruit were analyzed for firmness, skin and flesh browning, soluble solid content, titratable acidity, ethanol, ethyl acetate, ethylene, respiration rate, and chlorophyll fluorescence. Freezing caused skin and flesh browning and a loss of fruit firmness, which was greater in `Northern Spy' than in `Delicious'. In `Northern Spy' fruit subjected to the freezing treatments, ethanol and ethyl acetate concentrations were as much as 37- and 300-fold greater, respectively, than in control fruit. `Delicious' fruit showed similar patterns of ethanol and ethyl acetate increase, but of lower magnitude, as a result of freezing. Higher fruit respiratory quotients were associated with increased ethanol and ethyl acetate concentrations. Ethylene production and chlorophyll fluorescence of fruit were reduced by freezing.