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Catherine Belisle, Uyen T.X. Phan, Koushik Adhikari and Dario J. Chavez

Peach (Prunus persica) production in the southeastern United States extends from mid-May to mid-September. There are ≈60 peach cultivars commercially grown. Each cultivar has unique fruit quality characteristics, which could influence consumer perception and likability. The present study is a survey of chemical and physical characteristics of mature, commercially grown, fresh peaches in Georgia. A collection of 30 cultivars was evaluated in 2015 and 2016 for soluble solids concentration (SSC), total titratable acidity (TTA), SSC/TTA ratio, texture (compression, puncture, and Kramer shear), and skin and flesh color (CIE L*, chroma, and hue color space values). There was significant variation between seasons for all variables (P < 0.05) except for TTA (P = 0.12), and flesh hue values (P = 0.38). Statistical differences among cultivars within each year were reported for all variables (P < 0.0001). SSC showed variation seasonally and among cultivars, whereas TTA variation was mainly attributed to cultivar differences. Similarly, cultivar-to-cultivar differences were found when comparing the different texture tests evaluated with cultivars such as Goldprince, Early August Prince, Flameprince, Majestic, and Red Globe having the most variation between seasons. Other cultivars analyzed had little variation between seasons. Moreover, firmness differences observed across the three texture tests were inconsistent. In peach skin color, significant variation was observed for L*, chroma, and hue among cultivars. Skin hue and chroma were highly correlated within each season (r = 0.77 for 2015, r = 0.72 for 2016). The results of this survey demonstrate the variation of quality characteristics for a large selection of peach cultivars grown in Georgia. The information reported in this paper will be used as a baseline for further examining and understanding peach fruit quality.