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  • Author or Editor: Peter Toivonen x
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The application of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) in fresh-cut processing systems has been approached in three ways: 1) treatment of freshly harvested crop before longer-term storage after which the product is processed, 2) treatment of whole product just before processing, or 3) treatment of fresh-cut product immediately after processing. Results in the literature to date are quite variable in terms of whether 1-MCP treatment provides a benefit, no effect, or a negative effect on shelf life and quality retention of fresh-cut product. There are a number factors that impact the nature and extent of response to 1-MCP by fresh product and these include, but are not limited to, temperature of storage for fresh-cut product, condition of raw product, type of fruit or vegetable, cultivar, harvest maturity, duration of storage before cutting, and the 1-MCP treatment approach. A critical analysis, using existing published and unpublished data, provides a preliminary assessment of the impact of some of these factors. This analysis is intended to provide some insight into important considerations on the use of 1-MCP in fresh-cut processing systems and will guide researchers in considering experimental parameters for future work.

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Chlorophyll “a” fluorescence (Fvar) was compared with respiration and vitamin C content of broccoli [Brassica oleracea L. (Botrytis group)] during storage at 1C. The amplitude of the Fvar maxima declined in a similar manner as respiration and vitamin C content. Fvar was highly correlated with respiration (r = 0·83, P > = 0·0001). The correlation of Fvar with vitamin C content was weaker (r = 0·42, P > = 0·0002). The results demonstrate that Fvar is an indicator of postharvest changes in broccoli and that Fvar can be used as a nondestructive indicator of early changes in tissue condition (i.e., degree of freshness) of broccoli in storage.

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The objective of this study was to determine if chlorophyll fluorescence could be used as an indicator of anaerobic respiration in broccoli (Brassica oleracea L., Italica group) during modified-atmosphere packaging (MAP). Two types of packages were used, PD-941 bags, which provided optimum MAP conditions for broccoli (≈3 kPa O2 plus 5 kPa CO2), and PD-961EZ bags, which allowed the CO2 to accumulate (≈11 kPa CO2). After 28 days in MAP at 1 °C, the broccoli from both types of bag had similar appearances and weight losses. However, broccoli held in the PD-961EZ bags had developed slight to moderate alcoholic off-odors and had higher ethanol, acetaldehyde, and ethyl acetate content, as compared with broccoli in PD-941 bags. Chlorophyll fluorescence parameters (Fv/Fm, T1/2, Fmd, and ΦPSII) were lower for broccoli held in the PD-961EZ bags than in PD-941 bags, and these differences increased with storage duration. These results indicate that chlorophyll fluorescence is a reliable, rapid, nondestructive indicator of broccoli quality during MAP, and that it could be used to determine if broccoli has developed off-odors without opening the bag and disrupting the package atmosphere.

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Calcium application trials were undertaken in a 'Braeburn' apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) orchard with a history of bitter pit development at harvest. In 2000, an early season calcium chloride application strategy was compared with the unsprayed control and a late season application strategy. From 2001–03, the assessment of timing of calcium chloride sprays was extended by comparing effects of five weekly sprays applied during the growing season either early, middle, or late season. Other Ca application strategies tested included sprays of acidified calcium carbonate suspensions and soil application of calcium thiosulphate. In the first experiment, early application of calcium chloride reduced the occurrence of bitter pit at harvest and after 3 months cold air storage, despite having low harvest fruit Ca concentrations. Late sprayed fruit had a higher incidence of bitter pit. In the second experiment, the later calcium chloride was sprayed in the growing season, the higher the fruit Ca concentration at harvest. Despite this, no bitter pit was measured at harvest for 2 years for early and midseason calcium chloride spray regimes. In 2003, when Ca disorders were severe and fruit large, bitter pit was observed despite early season calcium chloride sprays. Soil calcium thiosulphate application and foliar sprays of acidified calcium carbonate suspensions failed to meaningfully augment harvest fruit Ca concentrations and affect bitter pit incidence.

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A randomized, complete block, split-plot experimental design with six replicates was established and maintained annually for the first five fruiting seasons (1999 to 2003) in a high-density apple [Malus sylvestris (L) Mill var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf] orchard on M.9 rootstock planted in Apr. 1998. Main plot treatments involved eight different nutrient regimes, each containing three tree subplots of each of five different cultivars (Ambrosia, Cameo, Fuji, Gala, and Silken). This report compares a +phosphorus (P) treatment, involving annual fertigation at bloom time of 20 g P/tree as ammonium polyphosphate (10N–15P–0K), to a −P treatment. Both treatments also received nitrogen, potassium, and boron nutrients through fertigation. Drip fertigation of P increased 2 M KCl-extractable P to 0.4-m depth within 0.5-m distance of the drippers. Leaf and fruit P concentrations were consistently increased by the +P treatment with few differences among cultivars. P-fertigated trees also had a 20% increase in cumulative yield overall cultivars during the first five fruiting seasons. Standard fruit quality measurements, including fruit size, soluble solids concentration, titratable acidity, and red coloration were unaffected by P application. However, reductions in incidence of water core at harvest, increased resistance to browning, and elevated antioxidant content of harvested fruit measured in some years imply a role for P in apple membrane stability. The cumulative results indicate that applications of 20 g P as ammonium polyphosphate annually at bloom would be advantageous for apples receiving adequate fertigated applications of nitrogen, potassium, and boron. Best apple performance was associated with leaf P concentrations above 2.2 mg·g−1 dry weight and fruit P concentrations between 100 and 120 mg·kg−1 dry weight.

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Cristalina and Skeena sweet cherry cultivars (Prunus avium L.) on Gisela 6 (Prunus cerasus × Prunus canescens) rootstock were maintained for the first four growing seasons in a randomized, replicated split-split plot experimental design with two main plot irrigation frequency treatments, the two cultivars as subplots and three soil management subsubplot treatments. The same amount of irrigation water was applied through four drip emitters per tree at either high (I1, four times daily) or low frequency (I2, once every second day) beginning in the second year. Three different soil management treatments were established the year of planting and included: 1) NK fertigation with a herbicide strip (control), or additionally; 2) maintenance of a 10-cm thick bark mulch over the herbicide strip; and 3) annual fertigation of 20 g phosphorus (P) per tree per year immediately after bloom. I1 irrigation increased soil moisture (0- to 20-cm depth) throughout each growing season. The I1 irrigation resulted in higher leaf and fruit concentrations of the immobile nutrients P and potassium (K) and larger trunk cross-sectional area than I2 trees. I1 irrigation, in general, did not affect initial yield or fruit size. Fruit from I2 irrigation had higher soluble solids concentration (SSC), color, and total phenolic concentration at harvest in 2008 and lower titratable acidity (TA), firmness, and stem pull force suggesting an acceleration of fruit maturity. When compared with the control soil management treatment, P fertigation resulted in leaves and fruit with higher P concentrations, a higher 2008 crop yield, and a delay in 2008 crop maturity as indicated by lower harvest color and SSC and higher stem pull force. Mulch application, relative to control treatments, resulted in trees with higher vigor (but only with I1 irrigation) and leaf K concentration and had few effects on initial fruit yield or quality. There were important differences in cultivar responses to treatments. ‘Cristalina’ vigor was lower than ‘Skeena’ whose fruit had lower firmness and pedicel retention than ‘Cristalina’.

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A convenient and reliable method that used a specially designed tool to apply a uniform bruising force in situ was developed to assess the relative susceptibility to fruit surface pitting in sweet cherry. Assessment of pitting with a visual scale after 2 weeks of 1 °C storage was found to be in close agreement with measurements of pit diameter. Using this method `Bing' showed the greatest susceptibility to pitting in both years of the study and `Bing', `Lapins', and `Sweetheart' cherries showed a decline in susceptibility as fruit matured. The predictive value of fruit firmness at harvest, fruit respiration at harvest, and weight loss in storage was assessed in relation to the severity of pitting. The model to best describe pitting was found to include all three physiological variables (firmness, respiration, and weight loss). While an acceptable model was obtained when combining all three cultivars, the best models were achieved when each cultivar was considered separately. It was concluded that there are likely unmeasured variables involved in determining susceptibility to pitting. Hence the best approach to predicting pitting susceptibility is the application of the pit-induction method described in this work.

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Apple fruits (Malus domestica Borkh. cv. Braeburn) harvested from two orchards (A and B) on the same day were stored in air or pretreated in air for 0, 2 (2dCA) or 4 weeks (4dCA) before moving into controlled atmosphere (CA) storage with 1.5% O2 + 5% CO2. During storage at 1 °C for 9 weeks in air and/or CA, changes of pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC) activity, alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) activity, acetaldehyde (AA) and ethanol (EtOH) concentrations in flesh tissue were assayed in addition to the incidence of Braeburn browning disorder (BBD). Immediate introduction to CA conditions induced the development of BBD with the highest incidence 62.2%, however delaying application of CA for 2 and 4 weeks reduced the incidence of BBD to 38.5% and 27.0%. The development of disorder in grower B was less than in grower A. 2dCA and 4dCA treatments did not influence PDC activity compared with treatment of CA. However, ADH activity and the accumulation of AA and EtOH in treatments of 2dCA and 4dCA were markedly lower than those in CA. The accumulation of AA in grower B was lower than grower A. The results of this study suggest that the delayed application of CA reduced BBD and this may be due to reduced anaerobic metabolism of fruits in the delayed CA.

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