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Bhimanagouda S. Patil and Bill B. Dean

Sweet onions have gained global importance because of their mild flavor and tear-free properties. A field investigation with seventeen Walla Walla Sweet onion entries grown at the IAREC of Washington State Univ. were evaluated in 1994 and 1995. The flavor and quality characteristics such as pyruvic acid and total sugar (fructose, glucose, and sucrose) concentrations were analyzed by spectroscopy and HPLC respectively. The pyruvic acid concentration in bulbs stored (5 °C and 65% to 75 % relative humidity) for 0, 2, and 4 months increased as the storage time increased. During 1994 and 1995 the pyruvic acid ranges during storage were 4.8 to 7.9 and 2.9 to 9.6 mmols·g–1, respectively. Total sugar concentration in 1994 decreased as the storage period increased, while in 1995 the trend was reversed. There was a higher concentration of sucrose in 1995. In general, Walla Walla onions showed a higher sugar: pyruvic acid ratio among different entries compared to short-day (Vidalia and Texas Grano 1015Y) onions.

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Bhimanagouda S. Patil and Bill B. Dean

Twenty-four genotypes of `Walla Walla' sweet onion (Allium cepa L.) grown in two locations were evaluated for several characteristics associated with bulb flavor and storage losses. The range of pyruvic acid content in bulbs stored (at 5C and 65–75% RH) for 0, 2, and 4 months were 3.4–7.54, 3.48–18.81, and 3.92–12.61 (μmol·g–1), respectively, among different genotypes. Bulb quality of several genotypes decreased during storage, as indicated by lower total sugar concentration (fructose, glucose, and sucrose) and greater pungency. At 5C after 4 months of storage, the range of marketable bulbs (percent by weight) was 31% to 89% among genotypes; however, at 15C, only two genotypes survived with 60% marketable bulbs. Pungency and sweetness changed independently during storage. Pyruvic acid was not correlated (r = 0.038) with the percentage of marketable bulbs remaining after 4 months of storage. In comparison with the short-day sweet onions (`Vidalia' and `Texas Grano 1015Y), `Walla Walla' sweet onions showed two-fold higher sugar: pungency ratio among genotypes.

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Bhimanagouda S. Patil and Bill B. Dean

Fall onions, grown for their long shelf life, have become popular both in domestic and export market. Sixty cultivars of onion from 14 major seed companies were grown in Quincy, Wash., and were analyzed for their flavor, quality, and anticarcinogenic flavonol, quercetin. The highest quercetin concentration (in mg·kg–1 fresh weight) was observed in the red onion `Feugo' (495.6) followed by `Tango' (396.8), while the least amount was in the yellow onion `Pinnacle'(152.5). The pyruvic acid content varied from 1.5 to 18.7 mmol·g–1 and total sugar (glucose, fructose, and sucrose) levels ranged from 9.4 to 36.9 mg·g–1 fresh weight among different cultivars. The ratio of sugar:pyruvic acid showed marked variation (1.6 to 64.00) among different cultivars. The variation in oligosacharides were ≈60-fold over all cultivars. The maximum degree of polymerization (DP) observed was DP8. We conclude that there is a potential for developing a mild onion for longer shelf life and better health properties. Yield at harvest and storage performance based on rot also was evaluated during storage.

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Y. Liu, B.S. Patil, H. Ahmad, and D.T. Gardiner

Pectin is a class of complex polysaccharides that function as hydrating agents and cementing materials for the cellulose network. Pectin has various health benefits, such as decreasing serum cholesterol levels, alleviating diabetes mellitus, and preventing cancer. It has been reported that the cancer prevention effect is closely related to the structure of pectin (galactose-rich, molecular weight <10,000, and methylation degree 50% to 70%). This study was conducted to investigate the variation of grapefruit pectin content due to harvest time. `Rio Red' grapefruit on sour orange rootstock grown at Texas A&M Univ.-Kingsville Citrus Center were harvested every 2 months and analyzed for pectin content, galacturonic acid concentration, methylation degree, and neutral sugar composition. Results showed that lamella contains more pectin than flavedo and albedo. In the lamella, the edible section, the uronic acid content ranged from 85% to 90% from August to April the following year. Methylation degree increased from August (31.89%) to April (46.99%). Total neutral sugar content of lamella pectin decreased from 110.54 to 61.77% mg·g -1. Galactose, arabinose, and rhamnose are the major sugar contents of pectin (85%), and glucose content increased with the season from 3.14 to 13.34 mg·g-1. Molecular weight of pectin was also determined.

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B.S. Patil, M.R. Williamson, P.M. Winkelman, J.R. Sievert, M.B. Butts, and M.L. Arpaia

Valencia orange (C. sinensis L. Osbeck) fruit quality was evaluated following exposure to either a cold treatment or a high-temperature forced-air treatment (HTFA: fruit center end point, 47.2°C). These treatments are approved as disinfestation measures against selected fruit flies (APHIS, 1996). Fruits were stored at either 5°C or 1°C (cold treatment) for 14 days followed by 10 days at 11°C and 7 days at 20°C. Fruits were obtained six times during the commercial Valencia orange season (three grower lots/time). Valencia oranges exposed to HTFA had significantly lower appearance ratings, total soluble solids, titratable acidity, and also had significantly higher rind firmness and weight loss as compared to control or cold-treated fruits. Cold-treated fruits had significantly higher L and hue0 values. Fruits were also presented to an untrained sensory evaluation panel. Cold and HTFA treated fruits were rated significantly inferior in taste. Although statistically significant, these differences were slight. The potential for HTFA treatments for CA citrus, in light of these results, will be discussed.