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Peter C. Andersen and Charles A. Sims

The influence of bilateral cordon (BC) and cane training systems and level of pruning severity on vegetative and reproductive characteristics of Vitis hybrid `Suwannee' were determined from 1987 to 1989. In 1987, yield and quality were similar on BC- and cane-trained vines. In 1988, shoot count, yield, and quality were similar regardless of training system and pruning severity (50, 70, or 90 nodes per vine). When data from both training systems were combined, yield was related to the number of shoots. Vines pruned more severely compensated by producing more shoots from non-count (non-node) positions on the canes, cordon, or spurs. Similarly, in 1989 yield and berry quality were not affected by training system or levels of pruning severity (50, 70, 90, or 110 nodes), although berry weight was affected by training system, and shoot count and shoot length were affected by level of pruning severity. Interactive effects of training system and pruning level were not significant in either year. An analysis of combined data for 1989 indicated that yield was affected by the number of nodes and shoots. Thus, `Suwannee' may be trained to the BC system, which is more readily adapted to mechanization. Pruning to a specific number of nodes per vine was not critical.

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Fernando Maul, Steven A. Sargent, Elizabeth A. Baldwin and Charles Sims

`Agriset-761' and `CPT-5' tomato fruits were harvested at green stage and subsequently exposed to a postharvest exogenous ethylene-air mixture (100 ppm C2H4 at 20°C). Tomatoes with visual symptoms of ripening (breaker stage = <10% red coloration) were removed from ethylene treatment after 1, 3, and 5 days and were transferred to 20°C and 85% RH. At “table-ripe” stage (full red coloration and 4-mm fruit deformation after 5 sec@9.8N), whole fruit samples were analyzed for difference/discrimination sensory evaluations, aroma volatile profiles, and chemical composition. Flavor of fruits gassed for 1 day was rated significantly different than that of fruits gassed for 3 or 5 days (n = 25 panelists) for both cultivars. Several panelists noted the perception of “rancid” and “metallic” tastes, and “lingering” aftertaste in fruits gassed for 5 days. Chemical composition assays showed that flavor differences could be partially due to a significant increase in pH values between fruits gassed for 1 and 5 days (4.23 and 4.34, respectively for `Agriset-761') and a significant decrease in titratable acidity (0.91% and 0.73%, respectively, for `Agriset-761'; 1.04% and 0.86%, respectively, for `CPT-5'). No significant differences in soluble solids content or total sugars were found in any treatments for either cultivar. `Agriset-761' showed significant increases in the concentrations of acetone, hexanal, 2+3 methylbutanol, and a decrease in 2-isobutylthiazole, whereas, `CPT-5' fruits showed significant increases in hexanal, 2+3 methylbutanol, trans-2-heptenal, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, 2-isobutylthiazole, β-ionone, geranylacetone, and a decrease is ethanol concentration. In both cultivars, these significant differences in important aroma volatile compounds could be of enormous relevance in the perception of off-flavor/off-odors.

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Craig K. Chandler, Daniel E. Legard and Charles A. Sims

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Angelos I. Deltsidis, Charles A. Sims and Jeffrey K. Brecht

Harvesting before ripening initiation (i.e., mature green) may negatively affect the flavor of fresh tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) even though the ripening process off the vine is physiologically the same as that on the plant. Low temperature storage at or below the putative chilling injury (CI) threshold can also have detrimental effects on fresh tomato flavor regardless of the developmental stage of the fruit at harvest, but sensitivity to CI declines with ripening. Controlled atmospheres (CA) using reduced oxygen and elevated carbon dioxide partial pressures can extend the shelf life (SL) of tomatoes while possibly minimizing the negative effects of low temperatures. In this study, we explored the possibility that a combination of temperature and CA could be used to achieve similar SL for pink-harvested tomatoes as has been found in other studies with green-harvested fruit while avoiding the negative effects of CI on sensory quality. Consumer panels were given samples of pink-harvested tomatoes after they had reached the red ripeness stage in terms of surface hue following storage for 7 days in air or CA at 7.5, 15, or 20 °C followed by 2–7 days ripening in air at 20 °C. Exposing pink tomatoes to 7.5 °C before ripening to the full-red stage at 20 °C negatively affected fruit sensory quality, holding fruit constantly at 20 °C until they reached the full-red stage resulted in better quality for one taste panel, whereas there was no difference in another taste panel. The time to reach the full-red stage was extended by CA. Sensory quality of air- and CA-stored fruit was similar at the nonchilling temperatures of 15 and 20 °C. Pink stage tomato fruit stored in CA at 7.5 °C for 7 days did not attain full red color within the subsequent 7 days in air at 20 °C.

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Charles E. Barrett, Xin Zhao, Charles A. Sims, Jeffrey K. Brecht, Eric Q. Dreyer and Zhifeng Gao

Grafting has many purposes in vegetable production. It is used for control of soilborne pathogens, season extension in protected culture, and improving productivity in cucurbitaceous and solanaceous crops. Consumers desire heirloom tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) for their perceived excellent flavor. Heirloom tomatoes are susceptible to many soilborne diseases and may benefit from grafting onto more robust, disease-resistant rootstocks especially under organic production. In this two-year study, heirloom tomato ‘Brandywine’ was grafted onto tomato hybrid ‘Survivor’ and interspecific tomato hybrid ‘Multifort’ rootstocks to determine the effects of grafting on fruit quality attributes such as soluble solids content (SSC), pH, total titratable acidity (TTA), and vitamin C. Nongrafted and self-grafted ‘Brandywine’ tomatoes were included as controls. Consumer sensory tests were also conducted to assess the effects of grafting on overall appearance and acceptability, firmness, tomato flavor, and sweetness. No significant differences in vitamin C, SSC, pH, or TTA were found in fruit from the nongrafted, self-grafted, and ‘Brandywine’ grafted with the two rootstocks either year. The SSC of all tomatoes in 2010 was lower than that of 2011. In 2010, fruit from ‘Brandywine’ grafted onto the rootstock ‘Survivor’ was scored significantly lower in appearance, acceptability, and flavor than the nongrafted ‘Brandywine’ treatment. All grafted treatments resulted in a significant decrease in acceptability ratings in the consumer sensory test. No significant differences were observed between nongrafted and grafted treatments in 2011. Consumers who reported more frequent consumption of fresh tomato tended to give lower ratings for most sensory attributes evaluated. Harvest time and fruit ripeness need to be considered in future research to better understand the influence of grafting with selected rootstocks on fruit composition and sensory attributes of heirloom tomatoes.

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Mildred N. Makani, Steven A. Sargent, Lincoln Zotarelli, Donald J. Huber and Charles A. Sims

Early-maturing potato cultivars (Solanum tuberosum L.) grown in many subtropical and tropical regions are typically packed and shipped without curing. The objective of this study was to evaluate two early-maturing potato cultivars (‘Fabula’ and ‘Red LaSoda’) grown under four nitrogen fertilizer (NF) rates and harvested at three intervals after vine kill for effects on tuber physical and compositional quality at harvest and during storage. NF was applied through fertigation (0, 112, 224, or 336 kg·ha−1) and compared with granular NF application (224 kg·ha−1). The tubers were harvested weekly after vine kill (H1, H2, and H3) then evaluated for quality at 7 and 14 days during storage at 10 °C/80% to 85% relative humidity (RH). ‘Fabula’ tubers from H1 had the highest cumulative weight loss (3.6%) after 14 days of storage (season 1), while those from both H1 and H2 were highest (4.4%) in season 2, regardless of NF application method or rate. Tuber firmness increased by 1.5 newtons (N) for tubers from H1 after 7 days storage, and again by 0.76 N after 14 days for tubers from H2 and H3. Periderm dry matter content (DMC) for H1 tubers increased to 13.9% after 7 days, regardless of fertilizer treatment, in contrast to those from H2 or H3 where DMC remained constant throughout storage (10.6% and 11.4%, respectively). For ‘Red LaSoda’, cumulative weight loss in season 1 for H1 tubers was 2.2% after 14 days storage, whereas that for H2 and H3 tubers averaged 0.7%; this trend was similar for season 2. Periderm DMC significantly increased with increased storage time; that for H2 tubers was highest (19.6%) after 14 days. In both cultivars, tuber ascorbic acid content (AAC), soluble solids content (SSC), and total titratable acidity (TTA) remained constant throughout the 14-day storage period. Periderm maturity of ‘Fabula’ and ‘Red LaSoda’ potatoes had a greater effect on tuber physical and compositional quality during storage than the fertilizer rates or application methods. Fertigation at NF rates of 112, 224 or 336 kg·ha−1 was comparable with conventional granular NF application for growing high-quality tubers with acceptable postharvest life. Growing tubers at 112 kg·ha−1 nitrogen via fertigation has the potential to reduce both irrigation water usage and fertilizer runoff during the production cycle.

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Craig K. Chandler, Daniel E. Legard, Timothy E. Crocker and Charles A. Sims

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Dennis J. Gray, Zhijian T. Li, Sadanand A. Dhekney, Donald L. Hopkins and Charles A. Sims

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Dennis J. Gray, Zhijian T. Li, Sadanand A. Dhekney, Donald L. Hopkins and Charles A. Sims

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Craig K. Chandler, Bielinski M. Santos, Natalia A. Peres, Celine Jouquand, Anne Plotto and Charles A. Sims