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  • Author or Editor: D.S. Mattinson x
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`Fuji' apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) fruits were harvested periodically prior to and during fruit ripening. Ethylene evolution and respiration rates of skin, hypanthial, and carpellary tissue was determined in each fruit. Additionally, whole fruits were used for analyses of internal ethylene concentration, volatile evolution, starch content, flesh firmness, and soluble solids content. Ethylene production was greatest in the carpellary tissue at all sampling dates except the one occurring just before the rise in whole fruit internal ethylene concentration, when production in the skin and carpellary tissue was similar. Respiration was always highest in the skin, in which the climacteric rise was most drastic. Higher ethylene production in the carpellary tissue of pre- and postclimacteric fruit and higher respiration in the skin tissue, including a noticeable climacteric rise, is indicative of a ripening initiation signal originating and/or transduced through the carpels to the rest of the fruit.

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Volatile esters from acids and alcohols are important components of flavor and odor perception in apples (Malus domestica Borkh.). We are interested in understanding the biochemical basis for ester synthesis/flavor retention in `Gala' apples held in controlled atmosphere storage. The relationship between acetyl CoA alcohol transferase (AAT) acetate ester-formin activity, non-ethylene volatile emission, and flesh volatile content of `Gala' apples during the maturation period and after removal from CA storage was investigated. At the appropriate times, apples were sampled for volatile compounds in the headspace and flesh using solid sorbent along with purge-and-trap capillary gas chromatography. Subsequently, acetate ester forming activity was assayed on partially-purified extracts of cortical tissue. During storage, the accumulation of the major flavor notes butyl acetate and 2-methyl butyl acetate in the flesh was decreased as oxygen levels in storage atmospheres were lowered. AAT activity is closely linked to the onset of climacteric ripening and is sensitive to atmospheres having low oxygen contents.

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Light has long been known to stimulate anthocyanin accumulation in apple peel, but changes in apple flavor as a result of fruit shading is poorly understood. Some growers maintain that the redder the strain, the less flavorful the fruit. An experiment was conducted to help characterize the role of light in biosynthesis of color versus flavor molecules in apple peel. Bags fashioned from 3 meshes of shade cloth were fastened around fruitlets of red delicious strains `Starkrimson' and `Topred' on M26, MM106, and MM111 by 21 DAFB to produce average light ranges of 100%. 41-68%, 12-30%, and < 1% of full sun incident upon the fruit. Observations from the 1993 harvest indicate that anthocyanin content of peel increased with fruit maturity and level of sunlight. Concentrations of flavor molecules were higher with low and moderate shade than with full sun, and also increased with fruit maturity. From this harvest data, it appears that apple flavor can be enhanced by lightly shading fruit without substantially reducing fruit color.

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