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M.E. Saltveit

Tomato fruit undergo an orderly series of physiological and morphological changes as they progress from mature-green (MG) to red-ripe. Fruit are commercially harvested at the MG stage, a stage which often encompasses fruit of varying degrees of maturity. The ability to predict the time required for MG fruit to ripen would reduce variability in experiments and could be commercially used to pack fruit that would ripen uniformly. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging can nondestructively measure internal changes associated with plant growth and developmental. In this study, NMR images were taken of freshly harvested tomato fruit (Lycopersicum esculentum cv. Castlemart) at different stages of maturity and ripeness. Measurements were also made of the stage of ripeness, rate of respiration and ethylene production, lycopene and chlorophyll content, density of the pericarp wall, and condition of locular tissue. NMR images showed substantial charges in the pericarp wall and locular tissue during maturation and ripening of tomato fruit. However, it was difficult to objectively evaluate these visual changes with other ripening parameters. For example, increased lightness and graininess of the pericarp wall image was associated with a decrease in wall density; while lightening of the locular image was associated with tissue liquefacation. Use of NMR imaging in studies of tomato fruit ripening will be discussed.

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Yunxia Qiu and Robert E. Paull

Over ripe and abnormally soft fruits occur often during papaya shipments to the mainland U.S.A. Calcium fertilization to the soil did not always increased Ca concentration in the mesocarp. Calcium plus K treatment was more effective at increasing the Ca concentration in the mesocarp than Ca treatment alone. Calcium and K fertilization did not affect the fruit color development. There was a positive correlation between mesocarp Ca concentration and ripe fruit firmness, with no relationship between K or Mg concentration and ripe fruit firmness. Vacuum infiltration with CaCl2, MgCl2, KCl to mesocarp plugs in vitro showed that Ca significantly delayed softening and reduced C2H4 production, and that MgCl2 and KCl also slowed the softening. Use of the chelating agent sodium citrate increased the rate of softening, probably, by removing Ca from the cell wall. We conclude that Ca is an important factor in fruit firmness and that the increase of Mg and K by infiltration has different effects on fruit firmness from that by soil fertilization.

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R. Koslanund, D.D. Archbold, and K.W. Pomper

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba L.), the largest tree fruit native to North America, has become the focus of a significant effort to develop its commercial potential. Due to the very short shelf life of the ripe fruit, a critical component of this effort is the establishment of appropriate harvest and postharvest storage techniques. Although it has been reported that the ripening of the fruit is climacteric, there is no published data to support this. Nor are there any reports on the response of the fruit to cold storage. Fruit were harvested and classified as unripe if no softening was evident or as ripe if softening had commenced. Fruit were held at room temperature or were stored at 4 °C for 28 days, then moved to room temperature. Ripe fruit exhibited respiratory and ethylene climacteric peaks within 3 days of harvest and 5 to 7 days after removal from cold storage. Unripe fruit exhibited climacterics 5 days after harvest and after removal from cold storage. A survey of drops indicated that they were postclimacteric. Thus, pawpaw is a climacteric fruit and cold storage delays the start but not the relative rate of ripening.

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David M. Francis, Sheryl A. Barringer, and Robert E. Whitmoyer

Yellow shoulder disorder (YSD) is characterized by sectors of yellow or green tissue under the peel of uniform ripening tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) fruit. Tissues excised from sectors of fruit expressing YSD, from adjacent red sectors, and from mature green fruit were used to compare the ultrastructural alterations in cells and tissue affected by YSD and to determine whether the disorder is caused by delayed fruit maturation or by aberrant development. Cells from YSD sectors were smaller than those from both adjacent red-ripe tissue and mature green fruit. The smaller cells from the YSD sectors were at a different developmental stage than cells of the adjacent red-ripe tissue. Chromoplasts in red-ripe tissue were more advanced in development than those in YSD sectors or mature green fruit. Using the transition from chloroplast to chromoplast and the degradation of the middle lamella between adjacent cells as developmental markers, the maturity of tissue from YSD sectors appeared to be equal or greater than that of tissue from mature green fruit. However, cell enlargement, which takes place early in fruit development, was retarded in YSD sectors. Therefore, the ultrastructural features of YSD are not compatible with a delayed ripening model for this blotchy ripening disorder. These observations provide a basis for comparing YSD in uniformly ripening tomatoes with other blotchy ripening disorders.

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Nazir A. Mir, Najma Khan, and Randolf M. Beaudry

The effects of 1-MCP on ripening and shelf life in fruit of five classes of maturity (1, mature green; 2, turning; 3, half-ripe; 4, ripe; and 5, over-ripe) of `Plum' tomato (Lycopersicon × esculentum, Mill) at 22 °C were evaluated. 1-Methylcylopropene (1-MCP) reduced the rate of red color development in fruit of all maturity classes. However, the effect was more discernable in fruit with higher hue angle value. Single application of 1-MCP delayed the color development by 10 days. While a second application of 1-MCP at day 10 delayed color development by another 10 days for mature green tomatoes, it did not influence the color change in all other classes of maturity. The effects of 1-MCP on firmness loss were similar to color development. Compared to the control, 1-MCP reduced the ripening-related rate of respiration by approximately 40%. Contrary to this, ethylene production was not affected by 1-MCP application. Potential exists to use 1-MCP in tomato to reduce ethylene-associated changes in texture and color.

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Shiow Y. Wang and Hsin-Shan Lin

Fruit and leaves from different cultivars of thornless blackberry (Rubus sp.), red raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.), black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis L.), and strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa D.) plants were analyzed for total antioxidant capacity (oxygen radical absorbance capacity, ORAC) and total phenolic content. In addition, fruit were analyzed for total anthocyanin content. Compared to fruit, leaves were found to have higher ORAC values. In fruit, ORAC values ranged from 7.8 to 33.7 μmol Trolox equivalents (TE)/g of fresh berries, while in leaves, ORAC values ranged from 20.8 to 45.6 μmol TE/g of fresh leaves. Fruit harvested at different stages of maturity were analyzed in blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Blackberries and strawberries had their highest ORAC values during the green stages, while raspberries generally had the highest ORAC activity at the ripe stage (with exception of cv. Jewel, a black raspberry). Total anthocyanin content increased with maturity for all three fruit. There was a linear correlation existed between total phenolic content and ORAC activity for fruit and leaves. For ripe berries, there was also a linear relationship between ORAC values and anthocyanin content. Of the ripe fruit and leaves tested, raspberry plants appeared to be the richest source for antioxidants.

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Nazir Mir, Mauricio Canoles, Randolph Beaudry, Elizabeth Baldwin, and Chhatar Pal Mehla

The capacity for 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) to inhibit color change and firmness loss and alter aroma profiles for tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) fruit was evaluated as a function of 1-MCP concentration, multiple and continuous applications, and stage of ripeness. In addition, the relationship between external and internal fruit color and firmness was determined. 1-MCP reduced the rate of red color development in fruit of all stages of ripeness. A single application of 1-MCP delayed color development by ≈ days. A second application of 1-MCP 10 days after first treatment additionally delayed color development of mature green fruit by another 8 to 10 days. Continuous 1-MCP application completely inhibited color development of breaker and half-ripe fruit for the duration (34 days) of application, but only partially inhibited firmness loss. When fruit at 50% color development were treated with 1-MCP, gel color development tended to lag behind the external fruit color change compared to nontreated fruit. Some aroma volatiles were affected by 1-MCP applied at the mature green and breaker stages, but the effect was relatively minor; 1-MCP did not affect sugar or titratable acid levels in these fruit. Collectively, the data indicate 1-MCP caused minor shifts in the quality attributes of locule color, aroma, and firmness relative to external color, which may reduce the value of this treatment, but benefits accrued by slowed firmness loss and color development may afford sufficient compensation to make 1-MCP application commercially feasible.

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R.E. McDonald, T.G. McCollum, and E.A. Baldwin

The objective of this study was to determine the effects of prestorage heat treatments on chilling tolerance of tomatoes. Mature-green `Agriset' tomato fruit (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), either C2H4-treated or not, were immersed in 42C water for 60 min, held in 38C air for 48 hours, or not treated, and then stored at either 2C (chilled) or 13C (nonchilled) for 14 days before ripening at 20C. Heat-treated fruit stored at 2C and transferred to 20C ripened normally while nonheated fruit decayed before reaching red ripe. Color (a*/b* ratio), lycopene content, and internal quality characteristics of fruit were similar at the red-ripe stage irrespective of method of heat treatment. In red-ripe heat-treated fruit, free sterol levels were significantly higher in chilled fruit than in nonchilled fruit. Heating fruit in 38C air resulted in significantly higher levels of some free sterols compared with heating fruit in 42C water. Of the 15 flavor volatiles analyzed, six showed significantly decreased concentrations as a result of C2H4-treatment and seven showed decreased concentrations when stored at 2C before ripening. Some volatiles were decreased by the heat treatments. Prestorage short- and long-term heat treatments could allow for storage of mature-green tomatoes at lower temperatures with little loss of their ability to ripen normally.

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Charles F. Forney and Michael A. Jordan

`Annapolis', `Cavendish', `Honeoye', `Kent', and `Micmac' strawberry fruit (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) were harvested underripe (75% to 90% red) or fully ripe. Fruit were stored at 0C for 5 days followed by 2 days at 15C. Volatiles were trapped onto Tenax-GR from the headspace over fruit before and after storage and analyzed using GC-MS. Volatile esters identified in headspace included methyl and ethyl butanoate, methyl and ethyl hexanoate, methyl and ethyl 3-methylbutanoate, 3-methylbutyl acetate, hexyl acetate, and methyl 2-methylbutanoate. Headspace concentrations of volatile esters over freshly harvested strawberries averaged 1.3 and 6.8 μmol·m–3 for underripe and ripe fruit, respectively. After 7 days of storage, volatile concentrations increased in both underripe and ripe fruit to 6.3 and 12.2 μmol·m–3, respectively. There were quantitative and qualitative differences between cultivars. Total volatile concentrations were 16.0, 8.1, 5.7, 2.4, and 0.9 μmol·m–3 in the headspace over `Annapolis', `Kent', `Micmac', `Cavendish', and `Honeoye', respectively. `Annapolis' had the highest concentrations of methyl and ethyl butanoate, while `Micmac' had the highest concentrations of methyl and ethyl hexanoate. Volatile concentrations at harvest increased 5.7, 1.9, 1.7, 1.4, and 1.3 times during storage in `Kent', `Annapolis', `Micmac', `Cavendish', and `Honeoye', respectively. Results indicate that strawberry fruit continue to produce aroma volatiles after harvest.

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P. Perkins-Veazie, J. K. Collins, and B Cartwright

To determine whether ethylene production was related to locular tissue breakdown in watermelon, plugs from ripe `Jubilee', `Black Diamond', `Tiger Baby', `Mirage', and `King of Hearts' were taken from the skin (epidermis and hypoderm), rind (hypoderm and mesocarp), and placenta (locular and heart) tissues. ACC oxidase activity was <0.05 nmol·g–1·h–1 in locule and heart locations for all cultivars. Skin tissue had the highest activity, ranging from 0. 1 8 for `Jubilee' to 0.5 to 0.62 nmol·g–1·h–1 for the other four cultivars. ACC (1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid) and ACC oxidase activity were measured in unripe, ripe, and overripe `Jubilee' melons. ACC oxidase activity from skin tissue was lowest in unripe (0.05 nmol·g–1·h–1) and highest in overripe (0.13 nmol·g–1·h–1) melons, and was 0.05 nmol·g–1·h–1 or less in all other tissues. Free ACC was highest in the skin tissue (1.3 nmol·g–1·h–1), but there was no difference in ACC content with stage of ripeness for any tissue. Results indicate that ethylene may be transported from the outer skin and rind tissues to locular areas and that wounding of the skin tissue could lead to deleterious ethylene production.