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T.K. Hartz*, P.R. Johnstone, and J.J. Nunez

Cracking of carrot (Daucus carota L.) roots during harvest and handling is a serious problem for the commercial industry, particularly for `cut and peeled' products. Thirty commercial fields of cv. `Sugar Snax' in California were surveyed over the period 2000-03. Soil texture was determined, and soil and crop nutrient status, air temperature and soil moisture were monitored. In 10 fields the effect of excessive N fertilization was investigated; 90-180 kg·ha-1 N was sidedressed in addition to the growers' N regime. At one site a comparison of 10 cultivars was conducted to determine the root cracking sensitivity of commercial cultivars suitable for the cut and peeled market. In all fields roots were hand harvested, with undamaged roots 18-24 mm in diameter selected for study. Roots were cooled to 5 °C and subjected to an impact test to rate cracking sensitivity. Fields varied widely in root cracking sensitivity, with 4% to76% of roots cracked in the impact test. Cracking sensitivity was positively correlated with the % silt and clay in soil, and with air temperature in the final month of growth. Irrigation management had no consistent effect on cracking sensitivity. N application in excess of the growers' N regime did not increase carrot yield, but increased root cracking sensitivity by an average of 30%. Root cracking varied among cultivars from 10% to 49%. However, when the periderm was peeled from roots before impact testing, incidence of cracking declined to 2% or less in all cultivars. Periderm strength or flexibility is apparently the dominant factor in carrot cracking sensitivity, and environmental and management variables that affect cracking sensitivity must do so by affecting the periderm structure.

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Martin Brüggenwirth and Moritz Knoche

Rain cracking limits the production of sweet cherries in all areas of the world when rainfall occurs during the harvest season ( Christensen, 1996 ). Fruit cracking is thought to be related to water uptake into the fruit. When the volume of the

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Cristina Besada, Alejandra Salvador, Lucía Arnal, and Jose María Martínez-Jávega

.05). Midharvested fruit (H2). Fruit from every HWT, except for the one carried out at 45 °C for 2.5 and 5 min, unexpectedly showed external damage immediately after hot water application. This heat damage appeared in the form of skin cracking. The higher the HWT

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

‘Gala’ apple ( Malus domestica ) strains are highly prone to the incidence of stem-end cracking before harvest with symptoms progressing during and after storage ( Lee et al., 2013 ; Opara et al., 1997 ). The incidence of stem-end cracking

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David L. Ehret and Tom Helmer

Cuticle cracking (also known as russeting, rain checking, or shrink cracking) can significantly reduce the quality of greenhouse-grown tomatoes, adversely affecting appearance and shelf-life. In this study, the effects of several environmental and cultural factors on cuticle cracking were assessed. Plants (`Trust') were grown at one of three nutrient feed concentrations, with electrical conductivities (ECs) of 0.7, 2.0, and 4.0. Higher EC initially reduced the amount of cuticle cracking. Over 14 weeks, the amount of cracking increased in all treatments and the differences due to EC became less evident. Over this same interval, 24-h average relative humidity (RH) gradually increased and was correlated with the increase in cracking. Further analysis showed that this relationship was due primarily to an increase in nighttime RH. No other climatic conditions were related to cracking. To test the possibility that the increasing age of the crop also could have contributed to the increased cracking over time, two crops of different ages grown in the same greenhouse were evaluated for cuticle cracking. The older crop consistently showed a greater amount of cracking than the younger crop. Our data suggest that EC is useful in controlling cuticle cracking under some conditions, but that nighttime RH or possibly some factor associated with crop maturity may override the effects of EC.

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T.K. Hartz, P.R. Johnstone, and J.J. Nunez

Carrot (Daucus carota L.) root cracking and breakage during harvest and handling operations result in serious losses. The environmental and management factors affecting carrot cracking and breakage susceptibility were investigated in a survey of fields and a series of trials conducted in California from 2000–02. Roots, leaves and soil were collected from a total of 31 commercial fields of `Sugar Snax' carrot, and soil texture and plant and soil fertility status were determined. Soil moisture was monitored in 10 fields to determine whether irrigation management was correlated with root cracking susceptibility; in 4 of these fields roots were harvested both before 0800 hr and at 1300 hr on the same day to directly compare the effects of root water status on cracking. The effect of N fertilization on cracking and breakage was investigated in 5 field trials. The relative susceptibility of 10 cultivars to cracking and breakage was also compared. Cracking susceptibility was determined with an impact test, and breakage with a loading test. Roots were selected by size (18 to 24 mm diameter) and cooled to 5 °C before testing. The percentage of roots cracked in the impact test varied from 7% to 75% among survey fields. Initial root water potential was not correlated with cracking incidence. However, after hydrating roots to minimize differences in water potential among fields, cracking incidence was correlated with turgor potential (r = 0.41). Soil sand content and mean air temperature in the 30 days preceding harvest were also correlated with cracking (r = –0.48 and 0.36, respectively), suggesting that cracking susceptibility may be minimized in cool weather and in light-textured soil. Irrigation management in the final 30 days preceding harvest had no consistent effect on root cracking. Time of day of harvest had a small but significant effect, with roots harvested before 0800 hr being more crack-susceptible. N fertilization in excess of that required to maximize root yield significantly increased cracking susceptibility. Cultivars varied widely in cracking susceptibility, with less variation in tissue strength and stiffness. Removal of the periderm dramatically decreased susceptibility to both cracking and breakage.

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Deborah Johnson and Dean E. Knavel

Cracking and scarring of pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) fruit are under genetic control in families having the cultivar Serrano Chili as the P1 parent. Fruit of `Serrano Chili' exhibited slight cuticle cracking or scarring, with no wall cracking, for an average rating of 2.2. Fruit cracking ratings of the P2 parents (`Anaheim Chili', `Red Cherry Small', and `Keystone Resistant Giant') were 1.0, 1.0, and 1.8, respectively, whereas ratings for F, (`Serrano Chili' × `Anaheim Chili'), F1(`Serrano Chili' × `Red Cherry Small'), and F, (`Serrano Chili' × `Keystone Resistant Giant') were 3.5, 2.8, and 3.5, respectively—an indication of overdominance. Cracking ratings in F2 and BCP2 populations were very similar and shifted toward the mean of the P2 parent within each family, while ratings in the BCP1 populations were similar to the F1 mean. Estimates of gene effects for cracking were mostly dominant, with some additive effects in `Serrano Chili' × `Anaheim Chili' and `Serrano Chili' × `Keystone Resistant Giant' families, and additive × additive epistasis in `Serrano Chili' `Keystone Resistant Giant'. Plants selected from segregating generations for either high and low scarring or high and low cracking produced progeny the following year with lower ratings than their respective mother's rating the previous year. Since cracking and scarring were significantly correlated with length, diameter, and length: diameter ratio of fruit in only a few generations and in segregating progeny of selected plants, fruit shape has minimal relationship to cracking and scarring.

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Phillip Joy, Rajasekaran Lada, Angus Ells, and Brian Williams

The individually quick frozen “baby” carrot industry is growing. Crack development during freezing (CDF) has recently become a quality issue. There is little scientific information available on the causes of CDF. Studies were initiated to determine genetic resistance for CDF and to identify crack-resistant varieties. Ten varieties and breeding lines (Columbia, HMX-0331, Sugarsnax, Sweet Bites, Tasty Peel, Top Cut, Trinity, XCR-0124, XCR-9650, and XCR-9840) were grown under the same field conditions, harvested identically, and processed. Samples were removed after a quick freeze tunnel and tested immediately for membrane stability using electrical conductivity (EC/g) and a membrane injury index. Percentage cracked, the length, width, and depth of cracks were also measured. Another set of samples were placed in freezer storage at –10 °C for 8 weeks and tested again for the same parameters. EC/g and membrane injury indexes showed significant interactions between variety and length of storage time. Crack length, width, and depth were significantly higher in XCR-9650 and XCR-9840, while Trinity had the smallest dimensions. Crack depths after week 8 in freezer storage were also significantly higher (0.30 cm) than those at week 0 (0.21 cm). Finally, percent cracked was also dependent on the variety and length of storage time. Trinity had the lowest percentage of cracked pieces (16%), whereas XCR-9650 (70%) had the highest percentage of visible cracking. Freezer storage time also played a role in CDF, since cracked percent significantly increased by 4% over the 8 weeks. Our results clearly reveal that there are differences in CDF among varieties. Among all, Trinity had the highest resistance to cracking, comparable to all the varieties except XCR-9650 and XCR-9840.

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M.M. Peet and D.H. Willits

Excess irrigation water was provided to spring crops of bag-grown greenhouse tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) to test the effect on radial fruit cracking. Varied numbers of emitters were placed in bags filled with soilless medium to provide different amounts of irrigation water. In 1990, all emitters provided water containing nutrient solution, but in 1992, the extra water added in one treatment did not contain nutrient solution. In both years, the percentage of cracked fruit was 20 percentage points higher in the treatments receiving more water. The increase in cracking was similar whether or not nutrient solution was added to the extra water. There also were some effects of the extra water on yield. Fruit count per plant was slightly higher (9.5%) when extra water was provided without nutrient solution, but was the same when nutrient solution was added to the extra water. Fruit weights per plant were 18.6% higher in 1990 when watering was increased. In 1992, fruit weights were similar, except for the treatment where the extra water provided did not contain nutrient solution. Fruit weight in this treatment was 19.7% higher than in the other treatments. In both crops, the percentage of cracking increased as linear and quadratic functions of cluster positions, i.e., there was more cracking in the upper clusters. In greenhouse situations, growers should consider water reduction when experiencing high levels of fruit cracking and as a precautionary measure when harvesting from the upper clusters. Providing excess water to greenhouse-grown tomatoes may be a viable technique for screening cultivars or for conducting research on practices to reduce cracking.

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Peter J. Nitzsche, C.A. Storlie, W.P. Cowgill Jr., and W. Tietjen

Fruit cracking in tomatoes is a serious problem, particularly when trellis culture is used. Past studies indicate that fruit cracking is associated with fluctuating soil moisture levels. Soil moisture variations are influenced by irrigation practices, and an irrigation regime employing frequent applications of water will lessen variations in soil moisture. A field study was initiated to study the effect of trickle irrigation regime on fruit cracking in `Celebrity' tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill). In the three treatments used, soil was allowed to dry to 10-20, 50-60, and 100-110 centibars of tension, respectively, between watering and then was irrigated to field capacity. These tension levels corresponded with soil moisture levels of field capacity (10-20 cb), 20% of available water depleted (50-60 cb), and 40% of available water depleted (100-110 cb). Yield measurements indicated that the driest treatment (100-110 cb) significantly reduced the percent of radially cracked fruit. This treatment also significantly lowered the total yield, in terms of both fruit number and weight. There was no significant effect, however, on marketable fruit yield due to irrigation treatments. Further field studies are required to determine the optimum irrigation program to reduce fruit cracking.