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  • Author or Editor: James P. Mattheis x
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‘Royal Gala’ apples [Malus domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.]can develop postharvest disorders such as flesh browning, senescent breakdown, peeling, cracking, or shriveling during and after cold storage. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of storage temperature and a range (0, 0.25, 0.5, or 1 µL·L−1) of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) concentrations on fruit quality attributes and incidence and severity of physiological disorders during and after cold storage. Storage temperature differentially affected internal ethylene concentration (IEC), fruit circumference, and cortex color. 1-MCP treatment resulted in significant effects on fruit quality attributes and severity of physiological disorders, regardless of storage temperature. Incidence and severity of diffuse flesh breakdown (DFB), shriveling, cracking, and peeling were highest in control fruit stored but radial stem-end flesh breakdown (RSFB) only primarily in 1-MCP-treated fruit. Incidence of RSFB was highest following storage at 0.5 °C compared with 3 °C. 1-MCP treatment had the most influence on disorder incidence/severity or quality attributes, while treatment concentration of 1-MCP was not significant. Overall, the results indicate that 1-MCP treatment can reduce the incidence of ‘Royal Gala’ DFB but may enhance sensitivity to RSFB, when fruit are stored at 0.5 or 3 °C. Incidence of DFB and RSFB are influenced differentially by storage temperature or by 1-MCP treatment, respectively, indicating they may be different disorders.

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The objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of trichome (fuzz) removal on the efficacy of ultraviolet-C in inactivating Escherichia coli O157:H7 on peach fruit, and quality of peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch, cv. PF25] fruit as affected by fuzz removal and ultraviolet-C. Peach (cultivar PF25) fruit, with and without fuzz removal, were inoculated with a five-strain cocktail of E. coli O157:H7 and treated with ultraviolet-C at doses of 0, 221, and 442 mJ/cm2. Fuzz was rubbed off using damped cloths. Survival of E. coli populations was determined at days 1, 4, and 7 at 20 °C. To study fruit quality, noninoculated fruit with and without fuzz removal were treated with ultraviolet-C at the same doses. Results demonstrated that ultraviolet-C at 442 mJ/cm2 reduced the population of E. coli by 1.2 to 1.4 log colony-forming units (CFU)/fruit on peach with fuzz, and 0.9 to 1.1 log CFU/fruit on fruit without fuzz 1 day after ultraviolet-C treatment. However, E. coli populations of all samples were similar with additional storage time, resulting in no significant difference among the treatments after 7 days of storage at 20 °C. Ultraviolet-C at doses up to 442 mJ/cm2 did not have any significant effect on the surface color of peaches during 7 days of storage, although fruit with fuzz removal increased L*, hue, and chroma values. In addition, fuzz removal promoted the loss of firmness during storage. Furthermore, ultraviolet-C at 442 mJ/cm2 increased antioxidant capacity of peach skin with fuzz. Overall, our results suggested that fuzz removal had marginal effects on the efficacy of ultraviolet-C, and ultraviolet-C did not negatively affect the quality of peaches.

Open Access

‘Royal Gala’ apples can be susceptible to the incidence of fruit cracking and senescent flesh breakdown during cold storage. Because the development of these physiological disorders in other cultivars can be influenced by humidity during storage, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of high storage humidity on fruit quality attributes and incidence of physiological disorders in cold-stored ‘Royal Gala’ apples. Fruit obtained from a commercial orchard were kept in cardboard boxes with or without a perforated polyethylene liner during and after cold storage. High storage humidity induced by the perforated polyethylene liner reduced fresh weight loss but enhanced the change of fruit circumference after cold storage. High storage humidity contributed the most reduction of cortex lightness (L*) and hue angle (h o) in stem-end cortex tissues during shelf life. Fruit stored with liners had reduced internal ethylene concentration (IEC) and outer cortex firmness after removal from storage compared with control fruit. Furthermore, high storage humidity prevented shriveling but provoked fruit cracking. The incidence and severity of flesh breakdown were further aggravated during shelf life, compared with cold storage, regardless of a liner application. Overall, maintaining high storage humidity by applying a perforated polyethylene liner can contribute to delaying fresh weight loss, reducing IEC, and preventing fruit shriveling but can enhance cortex tissue browning, loss of flesh firmness, and incidence of fruit cracking during cold storage and shelf life.

Free access

‘Honeycrisp’ apples are susceptible to bitter pit, a physiological disorder that impacts peel and adjacent cortex tissue. ‘Honeycrisp’ is also susceptible to chilling injury (CI) that can be prevented by holding fruit at 10 to 20 °C after harvest for up to 7 days. This temperature conditioning period reduces CI risk but can enhance bitter pit development. Previous research demonstrated a controlled atmosphere (CA) established during conditioning can reduce ‘Honeycrisp’ bitter pit development without inducing other physiological disorders. The objective of this research was to evaluate the duration of CA needed to reduce bitter pit development. Experiments were conducted in 2014, 2016, and 2017 with fruit obtained from commercial orchards in Washington State and, in 2017 only, Ontario, Canada. Half the fruit were treated with 42 µmol·L−1 1-methycyclopropene (1-MCP) for 24 hours at 10 °C immediately following harvest. The untreated fruit were held at the same temperature (10 °C) in a different cold room. Following 1-MCP treatment, all fruit were conditioned at 10 °C for an additional 6 days, then fruit was cooled to 2.8 °C. During conditioning, fruit were held in air or CA (2.5 kPa O2, 0.5 kPa CO2) established 1 day after harvest, for 1 to 8 weeks, then in air. All fruit were removed from cold storage after 4 months and then held 7 days at 20 °C. Fruit from most orchards/years stored in CA developed less bitter pit compared with fruit stored continuously in air. CA during conditioning also reduced poststorage peel greasiness but CA for 2 weeks or longer enhanced cortex cavity development in some orchard lots. Treatment with 1-MCP did not reduce bitter pit but enhanced development of peel leather blotch and core browning for some orchards/years. 1-MCP–treated fruit slowed the loss of soluble solids content, titratable acidity, and reduced internal ethylene concentration. Results suggest the potential for postharvest management of bitter pit development in ‘Honeycrisp’ apples by CA established during conditioning with minimal development of other postharvest disorders.

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The stigmatic secretions of pomaceous flowers serve as a natural medium not only for pollen, but also for the pathogen Erwinia amylovora (Burr.) Winslow et al. and other microorganisms. To understand the microecology on the stigma, exudates from cultivars of pear (Pyrus communis L.), apple (Malus pumila P. Mill.), and crab apple [Malus mandshurica (Maxim.) Kom.] were analyzed for free sugars and free amino acids as available carbon and nitrogen sources. Extracts were obtained at different stages of anthesis by submerging and sonicating stigmas in water. Certain free sugars (glucose and fructose) and free amino acids (proline, asparagine, glutamic acid, and glutamine) were consistently predominant and increased during anthesis. Apple stigma extracts were also analyzed for polysaccharides and proteins. Of major components identified for apple, free sugars made up 4.5% by mass; polysaccharides (composed of arabinose and galactose), 49.6%; and proteins, 45.9%. The two largest components are likely present as glycoproteins. This may be the first report on characteristics of rosaceous stigma exudates that includes the identity of specific free sugars, free amino acids, and polysaccharide subcomponents. Discussion includes the comparison of pomaceous stigma exudates to those of other plants and the microecological implications.

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Apples [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf. (`Gala', `Delicious', `Granny Smith' and `Fuji')], pretreated or nontreated with 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP, 0.6 to 1.0 μL·L–1 for 18 hours at 20 °C), were stored in controlled atmosphere (CA, 1 to 1.5 kPa O2; 1 to 2 kPa CO2) or in regular atmosphere (RA) for up to 8 months at 1 °C. Firmness, titratable acidity (TA), soluble solids content (SSC), and volatile abundance were analyzed every month directly or after transfer to air at 20 °C for 1 week to determine effect of 1-MCP, storage atmosphere and storage time on apple quality immediately after cold storage and after simulated marketing conditions at 20 °C. The 1-MCP ± CA treatments delayed ripening and prolonged storage life as indicated by delayed loss of firmness and TA in all four cultivars during storage. The 1-MCP ± CA also slightly delayed loss of SSC for `Gala' but had no effect on SSC levels for the other cultivars. There were differences among treatments for firmness and TA content [(1-MCP + RA) > CA] for `Gala', `Delicious', and `Granny Smith' apples, but not for `Fuji'. These differences were generally exacerbated after transfer of fruit to 20 °C for 1 week. A combination of 1-MCP + CA was generally best [(1-MCP + CA) > (1-MCP + RA) or CA] for maintaining `Delicious' firmness and TA. However, the treatments that were most effective at retaining TA and firmness also retained the least volatiles. The results indicate that the efficacy of 1-MCP and CA in maintaining apple quality factors is cultivar dependent and that 1-MCP + RA may be a viable alternative to CA for optimal eating quality for some cultivars.

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Volatile esters from acids and alcohols are important components of flavor and odor perception in apples (Malus domestica Borkh.). We are interested in understanding the biochemical basis for ester synthesis/flavor retention in `Gala' apples held in controlled atmosphere storage. The relationship between acetyl CoA alcohol transferase (AAT) acetate ester-formin activity, non-ethylene volatile emission, and flesh volatile content of `Gala' apples during the maturation period and after removal from CA storage was investigated. At the appropriate times, apples were sampled for volatile compounds in the headspace and flesh using solid sorbent along with purge-and-trap capillary gas chromatography. Subsequently, acetate ester forming activity was assayed on partially-purified extracts of cortical tissue. During storage, the accumulation of the major flavor notes butyl acetate and 2-methyl butyl acetate in the flesh was decreased as oxygen levels in storage atmospheres were lowered. AAT activity is closely linked to the onset of climacteric ripening and is sensitive to atmospheres having low oxygen contents.

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Eating quality of `Gala' and `Fuji' apples (Malus domestica Borkh.) from multiple harvests and storage durations was assessed using an untrained consumer panel. Apples were harvested at weekly intervals for 6 weeks and stored in air. Changes due to harvest maturity and storage for overall liking (OL), sweetness, tartness, firmness, and flavor intensity were evaluated over 8 months. A multivariate factor analysis revealed multicollinearity for OL, sweetness, and flavor intensity ratings in both cultivars. These attributes had the highest loadings in the first factor, explaining 51% and 52% of the variance of `Gala' and `Fuji' data sets, respectively, and were interpreted as a quality factor. Tartness and firmness had the highest loadings in the second factor for `Gala', explaining an additional 23% of the variability and reducing that cultivar's data set to two factors. For `Fuji', however, tartness and firmness were independent and included in factors 2 and 3, respectively. Factors 2 and 3 were interpreted as maturity factors, which explained 23% and 12% of the variance. The plots of the mean factor scores provided a multivariate technique to illustrate that panelists could differentiate between the stages of maturity of apples. Canonical correlations were calculated between the sensory and instrumental data. Only firmness measurements were correlated with sensory ratings for firmness (r = 0.53 and 0.44 for `Gala' and `Fuji', respectively).

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Physiological variability within a large canopy ‘d’Anjou’ tree results from agronomic and environmental factors. Fruit diversity within the canopy was surveyed using metabolic profiling to identify metabolism associated variability within the canopy. Different portions of the same fruit were evaluated to determine future precise sampling protocols for metabolic profiling of pear. We expected that the metabolic profile of the peel and cortex would be diverse and these differences would highlight specific metabolic pathways as influenced by these conditions. Another focus of this work was developing an untargeted metabolic profiling protocol tailored for pear using a combination of extractions coupled with GC-MS and LC-MS analysis. ‘d’Anjou’ pear fruit harvested from two different zones of trees trained to an open vase canopy were maintained at room temperature for 24 days to observe any changes in external phenotype and metabolic profile. Fruit harvested from the internal canopy were greener as also indicated by high Index of Absorbance Difference (IAD) and hue angle values. Metabolic profile differences between tree positions were widespread and included metabolites from many pathways beyond those associated with peel color. In addition, peel metabolic profile was different depending upon the tissue position (top vs. bottom) sampled from the pears. Specific pathways altered by tree position included those potentially linked to fruit quality and ripeness, including malic acid and aroma volatile (V) levels, as well as light environment, such as flavonol glycoside levels. Present results warrant further future work targeting these changes over time during storage and alongside fruit quality analyses to validate the impacts on ripening and tree factors. In addition, outcomes indicate tissue sampling strategies require consistency with respect to the region of the pear fruit sampled for metabolomics.

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The physiology and metabolism characterizing postharvest chilling and CO2 injury in apple has important implications for postharvest management of soft scald and soggy breakdown. This research assessed differences of primary metabolism related to soggy breakdown (cortex CI) and CO2 cortex injury in ‘Honeycrisp’ apple fruit. Results indicate that prestorage temperature conditioning, diphenylamine (DPA), and CA treatments alter fruit metabolism and affect peel and cortex storage disorder outcome. A preliminary summary of primary metabolism involved with soggy breakdown under high CO2 includes increased activity in glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, propionate metabolism, and alanine, aspartate, and glutamate metabolism.

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