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Yuehe Huang, David H. Picha, and Anthony W. Kilili

`Beauregard' sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas L. Lam) roots were maintained under different controlled atmospheres ranging from 0% to 21% O2 at 22 °C in two separate trials for 14 days to study changes in activities of pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC) and alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH). Trial I showed no difference in activities of PDC and ADH between 0% and 1% O2, or among 2%, 5%, and 21% O2. Both PDC and ADH activities were significantly higher at 0% and 1% O2 compared to the 2%, 5%, and 21% O2 atmospheres. In trial II, both enzyme activities were lower at 1.5% O2 than at 0% O2, but higher than at 10% and 21% O2 atmospheres. The combined data of the two trials showed a very strong correlation between PDC and ADH activities (R 2 = 0.86). In addition, a strong correlation existed between PDC activity and acetaldehyde concentration (R 2 = 0.95). The maximal activities were at pH 6.5 for PDC and at pH 8.5 for ADH in the direction of acetaldehyde-to-ethanol. The results suggest that 1.5% O2 is the critical point for the transition from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism in CA storage of sweetpotato roots, and PDC is the key enzyme in alcoholic fermentation.

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Anthony Kilili, David H. Picha, and Yuehe Huang

`Beauregard' sweetpotatoes (Ipomoea batatas L. Lam) were stored under a continuous flow of 0%, 1%, 1.5%, 2%, 5%, 10%, or 21% O2 (balance N2) for 14 days. Respiration rate was significantly lower at 1.5%, 2%, 5%, and 10% O2 compared with 21% O2, while respiration at 0% and 1% O2 was higher than at 1.5%, 2%, 5%, and 10% O2. Respiration rate at 0% O2 remained high for several days after exposure to air while that at 1.5%, 2%, 5%, and 10% O2 increased rapidly to equal that of 21% O2. Ethanol and acetaldehyde accumulated rapidly at 0% and 1% O2 but were lower at the other O2 levels. Ethanol increased 16- and 4-fold after 14 days of storage at 0% and 1% O2, respectively, compared to 21% O2. In addition, acetaldehyde increased 11- and 8-fold at 0% and 1% O2 respectively, compared to 21% O2. Sucrose and total sugar concentration increased under low O2 concentration while reducing sugars (fructose and glucose) and pH decreased.

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J.R. DeEll and P.M.A. Toivonen

When the gas concentrations of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) become extreme for broccoli (<2 kPa O2 and >10 kPa CO2), off-odors and off-flavors may develop via anaerobic respiration, rendering it unmarketable. We recently showed that chlorophyll fluorescence decreases when broccoli switches to anaerobic behavior in MAP. The objectives of this study were to determine: 1) if chlorophyll fluorescence returns to normal levels after the package is opened and hence the broccoli is exposed to ambient air, and 2) if chlorophyll fluorescence is related to off-odors that develop. Broccoli heads were held in MAP (2 to 3 kPa O2 and >10 kPa CO2) at 0 to 1 °C for 4, 7, 14, 21, or 28 days, and then 5 days in ambient air at 0 to 1 °C. Chlorophyll fluorescence of the broccoli decreased dramatically in MAP, and remained low during the subsequent 5 days in ambient air. Similarly, off-odors became worse and acetaldehyde, ethanol, and ethyl acetate increased in the broccoli with time in MAP. However, these compounds slightly decreased during the subsequent 5 days of storage in ambient air. Chlorophyll fluorescence parameters correlated negatively with off-odor development and acetaldehyde, ethanol, and ethyl acetate levels in the tissue.

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Miguel H. Ahumada, Elizabeth J. Mitcham, and Denise G. Moore

Nonfumigated `Thompson Seedless' table grapes were stored in air or one of four atmospheres: 0.5% O2 and 35% CO2; 0.5% O2 and 45% CO2; 0.5% O2 and 55% CO2; and 100% CO2. Grapes were stored at 5C and 20C for 6 and 4.5 days, respectively. The fruit were evaluated for weight loss, berry firmness, soluble solids, titratable acidity, berry shattering, rachis browning, berry browning, and volatiles (acetaldehyde and ethanol). Fruit quality was not affected at 5C; however, at 20C, controlled atmosphere (CA) treatments had a detrimental effect on rachis browning and soluble solids. CA at both temperatures induced the production of high levels of acetaldehyde and ethanol. After treatment at 5C, volatile concentrations were two-thirds lower than at 20C. A consumer taste panel evaluated fruit 3 days after removal from CA. Consumer preference was negatively affected by the CA treatments at 20C; however at 5C, consumer preferencewas not affected by the treatments. Preliminary data for mortality of Omnivorous Leafroller pupae (Platynota stultana), Western Flower Thrips adults (Frankliniella occidentalis), and Pacific Spider Mite adults (Tetranychus pacificus) indicate that many of these treatments would provide quarantine security.

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Yong-Soo Hwang, Jong-Pil Chun, and Jae-Chang Lee

Physiological disorder occurred in a recently developed oriental melon cultivar, `Gumssaragi-Bunchun' (Cucumis melo var. makuwa), is involved with the appearance of water soaking area in placenta and can be extended to the pulp when severely affected. Physiological changes between normal and disordered fruits were compared. Ethanol soluble sugars were significantly decreased in both pulp and placenta tissue of disordered fruits whereas acidity was increased. Ethanol and acetaldehyde accumulation were confirmed in juice from disordered fruits, which were net detectable in normal ones. The contents of boron and calcium, especially water and HCl soluble calcium, were fairly low in disordered pulp. Also, there was a great difference in pectin content between both fruit tissue and severe hydrolysis of water soluble pectins isolated from disordered placenta was found by gel chromatography. However, the hydrolysis of pectins seemed not to be associated with the increase of wall hydrolase activities such as polygalacturonase and β-galactosidase.

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J.P. Fernandez-Trujillo, J.F. Nock, and C.B. Watkins

Several strawberry fruit cultivars were exposed to air or CO2 at 2 °C for up to 9 days. Concentrations of fermentation products and organic acids, and activities of pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC) and alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), were measured. Acetaldehyde, ethanol, and ethyl acetate concentrations accumulated in CO2-treated fruit of `Honeoye' and `Kent', but not in `Cavendish' or `Annapolis'. We classified the former group of cultivars as intolerant to high CO2 and the latter group as tolerant to high CO2. Activities of PDC and ADH were higher in CO2-treated than air-treated fruit of the tolerant cultivars but not in the intolerant cultivars. Succinate accumulated in fruit of all cultivars, but concentrations were highest in the tolerant than in the intolerant cultivars. These results will be discussed in relation to mechanisms of CO2 action on fruit metabolism.

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Charles F. Forney, James P. Mattheis, and Rodney K. Austin

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea L., ltalica Group) produces severe off-odors when it is stored under anaerobic conditions which can develop in modified atmosphere packages. The compounds responsible for these off-odors, which render the broccoli unmarketable, were produced after sealing 50 g of fresh broccoli florets in glass pint jars held at 15C. Twenty-four hours after sealing oxygen concentration dropped to around 0.5% and remained at this concentration for 6 days. Volatile compounds found in the head space of the jars were identified using gas chromatography with flame photometric and mass spectroscopic detection. Volatile compounds produced were identified as methanethiol, hydrogen sulfide, dimethyl disulfide, acetaldehyde, acetone, ethanol, and ethyl acetate. Methanethiol was detected 48 hours after sealing and appears through olfactory evaluation to be the primary compound responsible for the objectionable odor.

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George D. Nanos, Roger J. Romani, and Adel A. Kader

The response of pear fruits and suspension-cultured pear fruit cells to 0% or 0.25% O2 is being examined to evaluate the feasibility of using such atmospheres for postharvest insect control. These treatments inhibited ethylene production, had no effect on acetaldehyde content, and increased ethanol production in pears kept at 20C for 10 days. The blossom end area of pear fruits was more prone to anaerobiosis, as indicated by increased alcohol dehydrogenase activity and ethanol content. Pear fruit plugs showed increased respiration and ethylene production rates when skin was present compared to plugs without skin. Methods for measuring activity of alcohol dehydrogenase, pyruvate decarboxylase, and pyruvate kinase have been modified and optimized and will be used to determine changes in pear fruit tissue during low O2 treatment and subsequent recovery in air.

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Diana Dostal Lange and Randolph M. Beaudry

Low O2 and high CO2 concentrations can be used effectively to slow respiration and retard decay, but anaerobic and C02-injurious conditions must be avoided. The objective of this research was to: 1) determine the effects of low O2 and very high-C02 on flavor quality and accumulation of fermentation products. Strawberries and blueberries were stored in 2% O2/0% CO2, 20% 02/50% CO2, 2% O2/50% CO2, and 20% 02/0% CO2 for 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 days at 20C. A taste panel evaluated the berries at the end of each storage period and again after 2 days under ambient conditions. Ethanol was the primary fermentation product that accumulated in response to low O2 and high CO2 concentrations. However, acetaldehyde was produced preferentially in response to elevated C02 levels. The flavor quality of the strawberries and blueberries was only acceptable for 2 days for treatments containing 50% CO2. The most intense off-flavors were detected in the 2% 02/50% CO2 and 20% O2/50% CO2 samples. 50% CO2 was highly effective in preventing decay, but this concentration was too high for acceptable flavor quality for storage periods greater than 2 days.

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John N. Sacalis

It has previously been demonstrated that exceedingly high concentrations of 2,4-D, when taken up by cut carnations, inhibit petal senescence, while application of low concentrations of this synthetic auxin promote petal senescence. The mode of action of such high concentrations of 2,4-D has not been elucidated.

In previous work, it was observed that significant amounts of volatiles always emanated from those flowers treated with high 2,4-D, and which displayed inhibition of ethylene synthesis as well as petal senescence. In the present work, the headspace of treated flowers was therefore tested by gas chromatography after enclosure for a short period of time. Two of the major constituents of the volatiles produced by the treated flowers were found to be ethanol and acetaldehyde.

Since ethanol has formerly been shown to delay senescence in carnation flowers, and since 2,4-D has been shown to induce alcohol dehydrogenase, it is suggested that the mode of action of 2,4-D in this case is by means of the ethanol produced as a result of the 2,4-D treatment.