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  • Author or Editor: A.B. Woolf x
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Longitudinal halves of freshly harvested avocado fruit (Persea americana Mill. `Hass') were pretreated at 38C for 1 hour in a water bath, while the other half remained at 20C in air. Then the entire fruit was either treated from 1 to 10 minute at 50C, or held at 20C (controls). Fruit quality (daily evaluation of browning and internal quality when ripe), and pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorescence measurements, were made on the skin of each fruit half 1 hour after hot water treatment (HWT), 3 hours later, and each subsequent day until ripening. The pretreated half of the fruit showed almost no development of external browning during the ripening period, while the nonpretreated halves were severely damaged by HWTs. External browning increased with longer HWT duration. Heat damage was also evident as hardening of the skin when fruit ripened, and such damage was reduced by pretreatment and increased with longer HWT duration. HWT had a rapid and marked effect on chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/FM ratio) of avocado skin. Whereas fluorescence of control fruit remained constant over the first 5 days, in both pretreated and nonpretreated fruit, within 1 hour of HWT, the Fv/FM ratio had dropped to near minimal levels, with little further change. The value of Fv/FM 3 to 6 hours after the HWT was directly related to the duration of the HWT (P <0.0001). Although pretreatment almost eliminated browning, little effect of pretreatment could be detected in the Fv/FM ratio. There was a strong negative correlation (r = 0.93, P < 0.0001) between external browning and Fv/FM for nonpretreated fruit, but this correlation was not significant for pretreated fruit. We conclude that chlorophyll fluorescence clearly reflects effects of heat on the photosynthetic systems in avocado fruit, but does not detect the alleviation of heat damage by pretreatments.

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Six concentrations of ethephon were applied to plants of `Donation' and `Anticipation' Camellia (L.) at two times (late summer and autumn) and three times (late summer, autumn, and midwinter) of the year, respectively. Abscission of leaves and floral and vegetative buds was determined. Sensitivity to ethephon varied markedly among plant organs. Greater sensitivity of floral buds indicated that ethephon could be used to selectively remove these with minimal abscission of other plant organs. Proportion of abscised organs varied with cultivar and time of application. Chemical name used: (2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid (ethephon).

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The influence of temperature and leaf maturity on ethephon-promoted abscission was examined by simultaneously applying either ethylene (10.5 μl·liter-1) or ethephon (0 to 4 ml·liter-1) to potted Camellia plants at four constant temperatures (10 to 30C). The abscission rate (time to 50% abscission) and extent of abscission of leaves, and vegetative and floral buds was measured. Increased temperature promoted the rate and extent of ethephon-promoted abscission and increased ethylene-promoted abscission rate of all organs of Camelliu. Lower temperatures reduced the abscission rate after ethephon application more than that following ethylene application. Sensitivity to ethephon was greater for leaves on newly extending shoots, although once shoot elongation and leaf expansion had ceased, leaves became less sensitive. Ethephon sensitivity increased progressively with maturation over the following 2 years. Optimal thinning of floral buds. at low temperatures required high ethephon concentrations, while at high temperatures, low ethephon concentrations were optimal. The influence on abscission of the time of year when ethephon was applied, is suggested to be due to tissue maturity, which affects tissue ethylene sensitivity, and temperature, which affects ethylene release from ethephon and tissue response to ethylene. Chemical name used: (2-chloroethyl) phosphoric acid (ethephon).

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Hot water treatments (HWTs), at a range of temperatures (43 to 55C) and durations (10 sec to 30 min), were applied to floret groups of `Shogun' broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. var italica) directly after harvest. Floret groups were then stored at 20C in the dark for 3 days. A range of optimal treatments was found in which yellowing was markedly reduced, and heat damage (water soaking and decay) did not occur. Chlorophyll fluorescence measurements indicated that in the optimum treatment that prevented yellowing the Fv/Fm ratio following HWT decreased immediately and was maintained at a constant level for the next 3 days. A further experiment examined the effect of HWT durations up to 20 min at 47C on fluorescence and yellowing. Longer durations of HWTs (>5 min) progressively reduced yellowing and the Fv/Fm ratio. From these three experiments a HWT of 47C for 7.5 min was selected as the best treatment. This treatment consistently reduced yellowing for up to 5 days. A decrease in the Fv/Fm ratio may be a useful indicator of broccoli florets response to hot water treatments.

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Modifications to solubilized cell wall polyuronides of sweet persimmon (Diospyros kaki L. `Fuyu') were examined during development of chilling injury (CI) during storage and in response to heat treatments that alleviated CI. Storage at 0 °C caused the solubilization of a polyuronide fraction that possessed a higher average molecular mass than polyuronide solubilized during normal ripening. The viscosity of this fraction was 30-times that of normally ripened fruit. Fruit heat-treated before or following storage contained a soluble polyuronide fraction with a markedly lower average molecular mass and decreased viscosity than in chilling injured fruit. Heat treatment also impeded an increase in viscosity of the cell wall material if applied before storage. CI (gelling) was related to the release of polyuronide from the cell wall during storage and its lack of subsequent degradation. Heat treatments retarded polyuronide release but promoted degradation of solubilized polyuronides.

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