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George E. Boyhan, William M. Randle, Albert C. Purvis, Pamela M. Lewis, Donna O. Linton, Reid L. Torrance, and David E. Curry

A 3-year study on the effects of growth stimulants on yield, bulb size, bulb quality, and storability of short-day onions (Allium cepa L.) was conducted at three locations. Treatments included 2-hydroxypropanoic acid, humic acids, humic acids in conjunction with micronutrients, and two formulations of cytokinin applied as a transplant dip and/or plant spray. There were no differences between 2-hydroxypropanoic acid and an untreated check at two different farm locations for onion yield, equatorial bulb diameter, or percent jumbos [≥3 inches (≥7.6 cm)] in 1997. Comparisons between untreated checks, 2-hydroxypropanoic acid, humic acids as a transplant dip or plant spray, and humic acids with micronutrients, all applied as transplant dip or plant spray, indicated there were no differences among treatments for yield, pungency, soluble solids, equatorial bulb diameter, or percent marketable bulbs after 6 months in controlled atmosphere storage in 1997-98. In a final experiment, these treatments were evaluated in a factorial arrangement using the short-day onion cultivar Pegasus and a mixture of cultivars WI-609 and WI-3115, which are referred to as Wannamaker cultivar mix. `Pegasus' displayed higher yield and lower soluble solids than the Wannamaker cultivar mix. Treatment with humic acids and micronutrients, or cytokinins resulted in greater percent marketable bulbs after 4.5 months of controlled atmosphere storage compared to the untreated check. No differences were observed among the treatments for pungency or bulb size. In addition, there was no treatment by cultivar interaction.

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Michael S. Reid and George L. Staby

Research that led to the discovery of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) started with efforts to understand the effects of controlled atmosphere storage and continued with studies that examined the nature of the ethylene binding site. Although some researchers focused on the use of silver ion for inhibiting ethylene action, Sisler and his colleagues focused on analogs of olefins that had a similar effect. Efforts to tag the binding site using activation tagging with diazocyclopentadiene led to the discovery of the dramatic effects of cyclopropenes, which were identified as products of its photooxidation. The story is a testament to the value of fundamental research and the collegiality and unique intellectual and technical abilities of the primary inventor, Edward C. Sisler.

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G. Andrich, R. Fiorentini, A. Tuci, A. Zinnai, and G. Sommovigo

Using mathematical equations that describe the 02 mass-transfer and the enzymatic oxidation of the organic substrates of apples (Malus domestica Borkh.), we developed a kinetic model to correlate fruit respiration rate with environmental oxygen partial pressure (PO2. The kinetic determinations were carried out at room temperature using apples stored at 3 to 4C for 11 to 19 weeks. Results show that: 1) the calculated value of the Michaelis-Menten constant related to the enzymatic oxidation of the respiratory substrate (Km = 2.1 ± 0.5.10-5 mol·kg-1) is close to that reported in the literature for cytochrome-c oxidase; 2) the located range of PO2 levels where 02 becomes the limiting factor in the respiration process (near 2.6 kPa at T = 20.5 ± lC) is close to those usually used on a commercial scale for controlled atmosphere storage.

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Sun-Tay Choi, Ro-Na Bae*, Dae-Sung Chung, and Seung-Koo Lee

To investigate quality changes of garlic associated with cultivars and storage conditions, northern type `Seosan' and sub-tropical type `Daeseo' garlics were stored at controlled atmosphere (O2 3%, CO2 5%, -1 ± 1°C) condition, low temperature (-1 ± 1°C), and room temperature (20 ± 5°C). The rate of sprouting, weight loss, enzymatic pyruvic acid content, and degree of greening in crushed garlic were determined during storage. The rate of sprouting was higher in `Daeseo' than in `Seosan' garlic in all storage conditions. Sprouting was effectively suppressed in low temperature and controlled atmosphere storage. Weight loss in `Daeseo' garlic was higher than in `Seosan' garlic. Enzymatic pyruvic acid (EP) contents increased for 3 months storage period, and then decreased gradually as the storage period was prolonged at room or low temperatures. However, EP content decreased dramatically during storage under CA condition in both cultivars. When garlic bulbs were crushed, greening appeared in the garlic stored at low temperature for more than one month. However, greening did not occur in the crushed garlic bulbs stored in CA condition.

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Chris B. Watkins, Randolph M. Beaudry, Terence L. Robinson, and Alan N. Lakso

ReTain™, a commercial plant growth regulator containing aminoethoxyvinylglycine, an inhibitor of ethylene production, was applied 4 weeks before normal harvest to `Jonagold' trees and the effects on fruit maturity and quality at harvest, and quality after air and controlled atmosphere storage was investigated. When fruit were harvested from 3 to 6 weeks after treatment, fruit ripening was inhibited as indicated by lower internal ethylene concentrations, delayed starch hydrolysis, and lower levels of skin greasiness. A number of factors indicated that other aspects of fruit metabolism were affected by the compound. Treated fruit were softer than nontreated fruit at the first harvest, and the benefits of ReTain on firmness appeared only at the later harvests. Also, at each harvest date, average fruit weight of ReTain-treated fruit was lower than nontreated fruit. We have investigated the possibility the ReTain and/or the accompanying surfactant, Silwet, inhibited leaf photosynthesis, thereby leading to altered carbon metabolism. Trees were unsprayed, or sprayed with surfactant, and ReTain plus surfactant. No treatment effects on photosynthesis were detected. However, leaf photosynthesis rates were generally low and quite variable. Measurements of fruit diameter confirmed that the increase in fruit volume following treatment was ≈2% less on the ReTain plus surfactant-treated fruit than nontreated fruit. The increase in fruit volume for the Silwet treatment was ≈1.5% less than in untreated fruit. The data indicates a rapid change in fruit volume as fruit changed in color. Inhibition of ethylene by ReTain may be an important factor influencing fruit size.

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Elizabeth Baldwin, Myrna Nisperos-Carriedo, and Craig Campbell

Application of edible coatings that can simulate controlled atmosphere storage has become a popular concept. An experimental coating developed at the USDA Winter Haven laboratory, Nature-Seal (patent application #07/679,849), or a commercial composite coating was applied to papaya fruit at the green (immature) stage for comparison to uncoated fruit. Both types of coatings contain a polysaccharide base and therefore have different properties than most commercial “wax” coatings. The fruit were stored continuously at 21C or 3 days at 13C then ripened at 21C with 95 to 98% RH. Sample fruit from each treatment were analyzed for color, weight loss, CO2 ethylene, & % decay and softening. Results showed substantial extension of papaya shelf-life when the fruit were coated with Nature Seal while the commercial coating was less effective. This effect was due to retardation of ripening as evidenced by delayed color development, softening, and effect of coating permeability to CO2 and O2 on climacteric CO2 and ethylene production.

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M. Khatoon and A. Hakim

Sweet onions (Allium cepae) were diced or sliced, ringed with sodium hypochloride solution (50 ppm) for about 2 min, and drained. After that, they were packaged in perforated polyethylene package and stored in an air and controlled-atmosphere (2% O2 and 5% CO2) room at 1 °C for 5 and 10 days. Weight loss, fungus infection, surface discoloration, flavor and taste, ethanol content, TSS, pH, firmness, and electrolyte leakage were determined after storage. Based on weight loss, fungus infection, surface discoloration, flavor and taste, ethanol content, TSS, pH, firmness, and electrolyte leakage, controlled-atmosphere storage, onions diced exhibited better quality retention than those that were stored in air. The overall quality of discs was better than slices. Onion stored for 10 days showed higher weight loss, more fungus infection and surface discoloration, off-flavor, bad taste, higher ethanol content, lower TSS content, less firm and higher electrolyte leakage than those stored for 5 days. So, the quality of fresh-cut onion disks can be maintained properly in a controlled atmosphere with reduced oxygen and elevated carbon dioxide up to 10 days.

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J.P. Mattheis, D.A. Buchanan, and J.K. Fellman

Quantitative and qualitative changes in net production of volatile compounds by apples occurs during fruit development with a major transition to ester production occurring as fruit ripening begins. Ester production during fruit ripening is an ethylene-mediated response; however, differences in maturation patterns among apple cultivars led us to examine the relationship between ester production and onset of the ethylene climacteric in several commercial apple cultivars. Emission of volatile esters as a function of apple fruit development was evaluated for `Royal Gala', `Bisbee Delicious', `Granny Smith', and `Fuji' apple fruit during two harvest seasons. Apples were harvested weekly and analyses of harvest maturity were performed the day after harvest. Non-ethylene volatiles were collected from intact fruit using dynamic headspace sampling onto Tenax traps. Fruit from each harvest was stored at 1°C in air for 5 months (3 months for `Royal Gala') plus 7 days ripening at 20°C, then apples were evaluated for the development of disorders. The transition to ester production occurred after internal ethylene exceeded 0.1 μL for `Royal Gala', `Bisbee Delicious', and `Fuji'. Ester emission by `Granny Smith' apples remained low throughout the harvest period. Increased ester emission occurred after the optimum harvest date (as determined by the starch index and internal ethylene concentration) for controlled-atmosphere storage of `Bisbee Delicious' and prior to optimum maturity for `Royal Gala' and `Fuji'. A relationship between the potential for development of superficial scald and ester production at harvest was evident only for `Bisbee Delicious' apples.

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A.D. Bauchot, P. John, Y. Soria, and I. Recasens

Treatments were applied in Italy, United Kingdom, and Spain to test their effectiveness in controlling superficial scald in apples (Malus domestica Borkh.) after cold storage. In Italy where mature `Red Chief' and `Golden Delicious' were stored at 3-4C for 4 months, scald incidence was reduced by postharvest dipping in a sucrose-ester based coating, Semperfresh, formulated with the antioxidants, ascorbyl palmitate, and n-propyl gallate. In the United Kingdom and Spain, early harvested `Granny Smith' were stored at 0C for 4 and 6 months. In the United Kingdom, ascorbyl palmitate applied with Semperfresh significantly reduced scald upon withdrawal from 4 months of storage near 0C, but not after 10 days at room temperature. Bringing the apples to ambient temperature for 20 hours 1 month into cold storage reduced scald almost as much as diphenylamine application, but the beneficial effects seen after 4 months of cold storage did not persist after 6 months of storage. In Spain, controlled atmosphere storage (3% O2 + 3% CO2) was as effective as diphenylamine treatment, even after 6 months of storage; CaCl2 was slightly effective after 4 months of storage, but none of the coating treatments significantly reduced scald. Treatments applied after 6 weeks were ineffective.

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Chen-Yi Hung, Cindy B.S. Tong, and John R. Murray

The color of red potatoes is due to an accumulation of anthocyanins in periderm tissues. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of several factors on tuber redness. Using the red tuber-producing S. tuberosum ssp. tuberosum cultivar Norland, we observed that chroma (intensity of redness) and anthocyanin content of greenhouse-grown tubers decreased as tuber weight increased. There was a slight or no increase in hue (tint). We used HPLC to determine that pelargonidin and peonidin are the major anthocyanidins (aglycones of anthocyanins) in tuber periderm. The ratio of pelargonidin to peonidin increased as tuber weight increased up to 25 g fresh weight. The decrease in chroma was not due to an increase in cell sap pH; we observed a decrease in cellular pH as tuber weight increased. Controlled-atmosphere storage had no effect on tuber chroma or anthocyanin content compared to air storage. Methyl jasmonate, sucrose, or light treatment did not increase anthocyanin accumulation. Tubers exposed to light had less anthocyanin than those kept in the dark. We are examining the developmental expression of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes, as well as the effect of maize transcription factors on anthocyanin synthesis, in tuber periderm.