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Zhiguo Ju, Eric A. Curry, Yousheng Duan, Zhiqiang Ju, and Aixin Guo

Preclimacteric `Bartlett' pears (Pyrus communis L.) were dipped for 3 min in either corn (Zea mays L.) or soybean [(Glycine max (L.) Merrill] oil emulsion immediately after harvest and stored at 0 °C. Untreated control fruit developed higher percentages of senescent scald, core breakdown, and decay after 15 weeks storage. Both treatments inhibited senescent scald, core breakdown, and decay in a similar and concentration dependent manner. Complete control of senescent scald and core breakdown was achieved by emulsions at 5% and 10%, and of decay by emulsion at 10%. Compared with controls, emulsion treatments delayed and reduced internal ethylene accumulation and volatile production in early storage and increased them in late storage. Compared with controls, fruit treated with oil contained similar levels of internal O2 and CO2 in early storage and higher CO2 and lower O2 in late storage. While control fruit lost commercial value after 15 weeks at 0 °C plus 5 days at 20 °C, oil-treated fruit exhibited normal color change, and had higher soluble solids, titratable acidity, and volatile production. Microscopic examination revealed that emulsion-treated fruit had a continuous surface film conforming to the contour of the fruit.

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Robert A. Saftner, Judith A. Abbott, William S. Conway, and Cynthia L. Barden

Prestorage heat, CA storage, and pre- and poststorage treatments with the ethylene action inhibitor, 1-methylcyclopropene (MCP), were tested for their efficacy at inhibiting fungal decay and maintaining quality in `Golden Delicious' apples [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. Yellow Delicious Group] stored 0 to 5 months at 0 °C and 7 days at 20 °C. Before storage in air at 0 °C, preclimacteric fruit were treated with either MCP at a concentration of 1 μL·L-1 for 17 hours at 20 °C, 38 °C air for 4 days, MCP plus heat, or left untreated. Some sets of untreated fruit were stored in a controlled atmosphere of 1.5 kPa O2 and 2.5 kPa CO2 at 0 °C while other sets were removed from cold storage in air after 2.5 or 5 months, warmed to 20 °C, and treated with 1 μL·L-1 MCP for 17 hours. Prestorage MCP, heat, MCP plus heat treatments and CA storage decreased decay severity caused by wound-inoculated Penicillium expansum Link, Botrytis cinerea Pers.:Fr., and Colletotrichum acutatum Simmonds (teleomorph Glomerella acutata J.C. Guerber & J.C. Correll sp.nov.). Poststorage MCP treatment had no effect on decay severity. Both prestorage MCP treatment and CA storage delayed ripening as indicated by better retention of green peel color, titratable acidity, and Magness-Taylor flesh firmness, and the reduced respiration, ethylene production rates, and volatile levels that were observed upon transferring the fruit to 20 °C. The prestorage MCP treatment delayed ripening more than CA storage. Following 5 months cold storage, the prestorage MCP treatment maintained the shape of the compression force/deformation curve compared with that of fruit at harvest, as did CA storage, but at a lower force profile. The heat treatment had mixed effects on ripening: it hastened loss of green peel color and titratable acidity, but maintained firmness and delayed increases in respiration, ethylene production and volatile levels following cold storage. The MCP plus heat treatment inhibited ripening more than heat treatment alone but less than MCP treatment alone. In one of 2 years, the MCP plus heat treatment resulted in superficial injury to some of the fruit. Results indicated that MCP may provide an effective alternative to CA for reducing decay severity and maintaining quality during postharvest storage of `Golden Delicious' apples. Prestorage heat to control decay and maintain quality of apples needs further study, especially if used in combination with MCP.

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Amnon Lichter, Yohanan Zutahy, Tatiana Kaplunov, Nehemia Aharoni, and Susan Lurie

Grape (Vitis vinifera) storage requires stringent control of gray mold caused by Botrytis cinerea. The commercial practice is dependent on sulfur dioxide (SO2) as a fumigant, which is applied by various means with well-known advantages and disadvantages. Many alternative technologies were developed over the years, most of them with limited efficacy or applicability. Modified atmosphere of table grapes suffers from a narrow threshold between control of gray mold and damage to the berries and stems due to high level of carbon dioxide (CO2) within the film-enclosed package. We demonstrated in the past that dipping table grapes in ethanol after harvest has a very pronounced effect on prevention of decay. However, ethanol does not leave a protective residue within the grapes, so it is not expected to prevent latent infections from developing decay nests during prolonged storage. However, if grapes of cultivar Superior were treated with ethanol and then subjected to a modified atmosphere using plastic films (Xtend), we achieved an additive effect and observed persistent control of gray mold without injury to the grapes. The advantage of this plastic film was mainly in its water conductance, which prevented accumulation of free water that is often the limiting factor in modified atmosphere packaging. This combination results in greater decay control, which is a prerequisite for commercial applicability. If undesired aftertaste did develop within the fruit due to the modified atmosphere, 1 day of exposure to ambient air was sufficient to dissipate it.

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Elizabeth Baldwin, Jan Narciso, Randy Cameron, and Anne Plotto

Strawberry fruit were harvested on three different dates from the Strawberry Association plot (cv. Festival), a commercial farm (cv. Camino Real), and at the University of Florida Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (cv. Sweet Charlie), in central Florida in 2005 and 2006. Fruit were transported to the USCSPL in Winter Haven, Fla., sorted, dipped for 10 s in treatment solutions, drained and stored in commercial clam-shells at 15 to 19 °C. Percentage of decay (number of fruit with lesions) was monitored during storage. There were 10 fruit per replicate clamshell, and three to four replicates per treatment for each harvest. Treatments included three size classes of galacturonic acid (GA) oligomers with a degree of polymerization (DP) ranging from 1–13, 8–24, and 22–46 and undigested polygalacturonic acid at 0.2% in 50 mmol LiOAC, LiOAC/NaOAC, with 22% ETOH, or KOAC buffer (all buffers at pH ≈4.4), prepared by enzymatic digestion followed by differential pH and alcohol precipitation. The main pathogens found on these fruit were Rhizopus stolonifer and Botrytis cinera at 1×105 cfu/g fruit in 2005 and 5×107 in 2006. The medium range oligomers (DP 8-24) reduced decay significantly compared to buffer alone or to the lower or higher DP GA oligomers, and elicited ethylene production. Oligomers in this pectin size class have previously been reported to elicit ethylene and plant defense responses in plant tissues.

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M. Erkan, C.Y. Wang, and D.T. Krizek

Exposure of fresh-cut zucchini squash (Cucurbita pepo L., cv. Tigress) to ultraviolet-C (UV-C) irradiation for 1, 10, or 20 min significantly reduced microbial counts and severity of decay during subsequent storage at 5 or 10 °C. However, the respiration rate and ethylene production of the slices were not affected by the UV-C treatments. Slight UV-C damage (reddish brown discoloration) was detected on the surface of 10- and 20-min treated slices after 12 days of storage at 10 °C. Slices stored at 5 °C did not show UV-C damage. Chilling injury was not observed until after 20 days of storage at 5 °C. The symptoms of chilling injury appeared as dried sunken brown spots on the surface of cortex tissue. UV-C treatments did not affect the degree of chilling injury during storage at 5 C. The storage quality of fresh-cut zucchini squash was improved by UV-C exposure primarily because of the retardation of microbial growth and reduction of decay. The influence of UV-C irradiation on sugar and organic acid contents of the fresh-cut zucchini squash will also be discussed.

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Victor Rodov, Shimshon Ben-Yehoshua, Jong Jin Kim, Boris Shapiro, and Yitzhak Ittah

Ultraviolet (UV) illumination (254 nm) induced production of the phytoalexin scoparone in flavedo of kumquat (Fortunella margarita Lour. Swingle cv. Nagami) and orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck cvs. Shamouti and Valencia]. Trace amounts of scoparone (<2.0 μg·g-1 fresh weight of flavedo) were detected in nontreated fruits. Phytoalexin accumulation in kumquat reached a peak of 530 μg·g-1 11 days after illumination, hut the amount declined rapidly, returning to a trace level 1 month after treatment.. Production of scoparone in illuminated fruits was enhanced by increasing the UV dose from 1.5 × 103 to 9.0 × 103 J·m-2 for orange and from 0.2 × 103 to 1.5 × 103 J·m-2 for kumquat and by raising the storage temperature from 2 to 17C. Phytoalexin accumulation correlated with an increase in antifungal activity of flavedo extracts. UV-illuminated kumquat fruit inoculated with Penicillium digitatum Sacc. 2 days after treatment had a lower incidence of decay than the control. Illumination of previously inoculated fruit failed to prevent decay. Kumquat fruit stored at 17C showed signs of UV-induced peel damage. Chemical name used: 6,7-dimethoxycoumarin (scoparone).

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Raymond G. McGuire and William F. Reeder

Early, mid-, and late-season grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) were treated with hot air at 46, 48, and 50C for 3, 5, or 7 hours to determine the effects of time and temperature on market quality. Early and late-season fruit were more easily' damaged by the higher temperatures than midseason fruit. Increased times at the lower temperatures had less of a deleterious effect on weight loss, loss of firmness and color, and susceptibility to scalding injury and fungal decay than did shorter times at the higher temperatures. Nevertheless, regression equations predicted that 3 hours at 48C or 2 hours at 49C would not adversely affec: market quality of early and midseason fruit. The suitability of these equations was verified through taste tests of Juice. It may not be possible, however, to raise the treatment temperature for late-season fruit above 47.5C without damaging the quality of juice from these fruit.

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Gregory E. Welbaum

Muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) seed crops sometimes contain seeds with split coats that expand to twice their normal water content. These expanded seeds are often referred to as “fishmouth” seeds, because the split seed coat resembles an open fish's mouth when viewed longitudinally. “Fishmouth” seeds are dead seeds. However, little is known about why death occurs inside the fruit before harvest. Hermaphroditic flowers were tagged at anthesis and fruits were harvested at various intervals during the later stages of development and decay. Seeds were removed from the fruits and incubated in water on germination blotter paper for 14 days. The percentage of germinable, dead and “fishmouth” seeds were averaged for each Harvest date. Fruit pericarp samples were analyzed for pH, ethanol, and acetic acid content. At 50 days after anthesis (DAA), just past edible maturity, 100% of the seeds germinated. However, at 60 and 78 DAA germination dropped to 60 and 17%, respectively, while the occurrence of “fishmouth” seeds increased from 2 to 54% over the same period. The ethanol content of the tissue increased from 0.11 to 0.28%, the pH dropped from 6.2 to 5.1, and acetic acid concentration increased from 3.0 to 3.7 mM from 50 to 60 DAA, respectively. However, when dried seeds were incubated in the laboratory under conditions similar to those within the fruit, the formation of “fishmouth” seeds was related to the ageing effects of long term hydration and was not correlated with any chemical product within the fruit.

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V. Rodov, S. Ben-Yehoshua, T. Fierman, and D. Fang

Lowering the in-package relative humidity (RH) by adding hygroscopic material (e.g., NaCl) reduced decay of bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) fruit sealed in low-density polyethylene and stored 2 or 3 weeks at 8C. Without hygroscopic material, the in-package RH was close to saturation, and water droplets condensed on the fruit and inner film surfaces. Depending on the amount of NaCl, condensation was prevented or significantly reduced. Humidity level varied from ≈88% with 15 g NaCl to ≈97% with 5 g NaCl for a package containing 0.5 to 0.6 kg of fruit. Adding hygroscopic material increased the water vapor pressure deficit (VPD) in the packages and, accordingly, the weight loss of the fruit. However, peppers packaged with NaCl still had lower weight loss and better quality than the nonsealed fruit. The water regime formed in four-fruit packages in the presence of 10 g NaCl (92% to 95% RH, VPD 65 to 77Pa) enabled optimal balance between reduced fruit desiccation and inhibited pathogen development, thus extending the postharvest life of bell pepper.

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Annette L. Wszelaki and Elizabeth J. Mitcham

Controlled atmospheres have been proven an effective postharvest disease deterrent for strawberries both in transport and storage. However, these treatments do not provide residual protection once the commodity is removed from the atmosphere, and the atmospheres can cause off-flavors in the fruit. Elevated oxygen atmospheres are a novel addition to this technology and could potentially provide better decay control without the harmful effects on fruit flavor aspects. Elevated oxygen will potentially discourage microbial growth, as anaerobes grow best under very low oxygen levels and aerobes grow best under atmospheric oxygen. Threshold elevated oxygen levels to prevent Botrytis cinerea growth in vitro and in vivo on strawberry were assessed. Botrytis cultures (mycelial plugs and spores) and fresh strawberry fruit were exposed to 21%, 40%, 60%, and 80% oxygen atmospheres at 5 °C for 5, 7, and 14 d. Growth of cultures from mycelial plugs was evaluated after treatment and during post-treatment incubation by measuring the diameter of the fungus. Spore germination and germ tube elongation were evaluated every 24 h for 3 days after treatment by counting the number of germinated spores and measuring elongation, respectively. Strawberry quality including firmness, color, soluble solids, titratable acidity, ethylene production and respiration rates, and presence of defects were evaluated upon removal from the elevated oxygen atmospheres as well as after 1, 3, and 5 d storage in air at 20 °C simulating market conditions.