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  • Author or Editor: Craig Davis x
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Postharvest pitting of citrus fruit is a recently defined peel disorder that is caused by high-temperature storage (>10°C) of waxed fruit. We examined the anatomy of pitted white grapefruit peel to improve our understanding of this disorder and assist in its diagnosis. Scanning, light, and transmission micrographs showed that postharvest pitting is characterized by the collapse of oil glands. Cells enveloping the oil glands are the cells of primary damage. Oil gland rupture may occur anywhere around the oil gland, but often occurs in regions farthest from the epidermal cells. Adjacent parenchyma cells are damaged as the oil spreads. Epidermal and hypodermal cells are often damaged during severe oil gland collapse. In contrast, chilling injury is characterized by the collapse of epidermal and hypodermal cells. Oil glands are affected only in severe cases of chilling injury. Oleocellosis (oil spotting) is often characterized by the collapse of epidermal and hypodermal cells, but cells enveloping the oil gland are typically not damaged. Physical damage is characterized by damage of epidermal cells, a wound periderm, and presence of secondary pathogens.

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The morphology and etiology of postharvest pitting of `Fallglo' [Bower citrus hybrid (Citrus reticulata Blanco × C. reticulata Blanco × C. paradisi Macf.) × Temple (C. reticulata Blanco × C. sinensis L.)] peel were determined. The disorder was characterized by scattered collapse of the flavedo that resulted from necrosis of cells within and enveloping the oil glands. In severe cases, damage occurred in epidermal and hypodermal cells above collapsed oil glands and surrounding vascular tissues, but cells between oil glands were often undamaged. Pitting was caused by storing waxed fruit at high temperature (≥15.5 °C), but was not affected by ethylene exposure during degreening. Fruit coated with commercially available shellac- and polyethylene-based waxes pitted more than fruit coated with carnauba-based waxes. Pitting was controlled by not coating the fruit with wax or storing the fruit at low temperature (4.5 °C) within hours after wax application.

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The effect of high-pressure washing (HPW) on the surface morphology and physiology of citrus fruit was examined. Mature white (Citrus paradisi Macf. `Marsh') and red (Citrus paradisi Macf. `Ruby Red') grapefruit, oranges (Citrus sinensis L. `Hamlin'), and tangelos (Citrus reticulata Blanco × Citrus paradisi Macf. `Orlando') were washed on a roller brush bed and under a water spraying system for which water pressure was varied. Washing white grapefruit and oranges for 10 seconds under conventional low water pressure (345 kPa at cone nozzle) had little effect on peel wax fine structure. Washing fruit for 10 seconds under high water pressure (1380 or 2760 kPa at veejet nozzle) removed most epicuticular wax platelets from the surface as well as other surface debris such as sand grains. Despite the removal of epicuticular wax, HPW did not affect whole fruit mass loss or exchange of water, O2, or CO2 at the midsection of the fruit. Analysis of the effect of nozzle pressure (345, 1380, or 2760 kPa), period of exposure (10 or 60 seconds), and wax application on internal gas concentrations 18 hours after washing showed that increasing nozzle pressure increased internal CO2 concentrations while waxing increased internal ethylene and CO2 concentrations and decreased O2 concentrations. An apparent wound ethylene response was often elicited from fruit washed under high pressures (≥2070 kPa) or for long exposure times (≥30 seconds).

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The long voyage of Florida grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) to Japan and extended marketing periods on arrival were associated with a problem with excess diphenyl (biphenyl) residues. Japanese food additive regulations have necessitated reliance on the vapor-phase fungistat diphenyl, for which residues in the fruit increase with time after packing. Residues in some shipments unexpectedly exceeded the Japanese tolerance of 70 ppm. Experiments designed to identify the effect of various factors on diphenyl residues are reported. The amount of diphenyl, temperature before refrigerated transit and exposure time, especially before refrigeration, affected diphenyl residues. Air filtration had little effect. Very early season grapefruit (harvest started before legal maturity) in August and September 1978 absorbed excessive diphenyl residues. Excessive absorption of diphenyl by grapefruit is apparently characteristic of very early fruit.

Open Access