In a study conducted over three crop seasons, Ethrel (ETH) increased the Brix, sucrose, and sorbitol content of 'Scarletspur Delicious' apple juice while reducing the fructose content. Both longer preharvest exposure to, and higher concentrations of, ETH had a stronger influence than application closer to harvest and/or at lesser amounts. Time of ETH application tended to influence individual carbohydrates more so than amount of ETH applied. ETH reduced total acidity and also reduced apple juice individual acid (quinic and malic) contents with longer preharvest exposure or higher concentrations. Aminoethoxyvinylglycine [AVG (ReTain)] reduced both Brix and sucrose content of 'Scarletspur Delicious' apple juice, but had no influence on either total acidity or individual acid contents. Combinations of AVG with ETH tended to counteract the influence of either used alone on total Brix, carbohydrates, total acidity and individual acids. Mineral content of 'Scarletspur Delicious' apple juice was not strongly influenced by application of either ETH or AVG.
This study was conducted over three crop seasons using 'Delicious' (Scarletspur strain) apple trees on MM.111 rootstock. The bioregulators aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG) and ethephon (ETH) were applied alone or in combinations at various time intervals before harvest. Fruit response to bioregulators was evaluated at harvest and after storage. AVG applied 4 weeks before first harvest retarded starch loss at harvest, retained greater firmness, and reduced internal ethylene concentration and watercore of fruit at harvest and after both regular and controlled atmosphere storage. AVG did not influence peel color (hue values), but the flesh color of treated apples was more green. AVG in all instances tended to reduce the sensory scores for apples and apple juice. In contrast, ETH enhanced starch hydrolysis, flesh color development (green to more yellow), and soluble solids concentration while reducing titratable acidity levels. ETH had no influence on fruit firmness at harvest, but reduced firmness levels after storage in an inverse relationship to the concentration applied. Sensory values for whole apples were not influenced by ETH treatment, but ETH improved sensory preference for apple juice, particularly at early harvest. Applying AVG before ETH enhanced soluble solids and sensory scores for both fruit and juice. Treating with AVG followed by ETH at 150 mg·L–1 permitted the maintenance of satisfactory firmness values (>53.4 N) after long-term storage along with better quality and sensory perceptions. Using specific combinations of both AVG and ETH permitted ETH-mediated improvements in objective and perceived fruit quality to be obtained without the losses in flesh firmness and storability due to uncontrolled ethylene evolution and ripening typically observed when ETH is applied alone preharvest.