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  • Author or Editor: David Del Pozo-Insfran x
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Greenhouse-grown bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L. `Robusta') were harvested at five stages of maturation (10% red to full red) in early winter 2002 (Expt. 1) and at two stages (10% red and full red) in early Spring 2002 (Expt. 2). The fruit were subsequently stored at 20 °C in a continuous-flow chamber consisting of either 100 μL·L–1 ethylene (balance air) or air-only (control) at 90% relative humidity (RH). Individual fruit were removed from the chambers upon reaching full red color, and stored at –30 °C until physicochemical analyses were conducted. Harvest maturity, and ethylene exposure had no appreciable effect on pulp soluble solids content, total titratable acidity or pH. Exposure to ethylene hastened ripening time compared to the air control but was independent of fruit maturity at harvest. Fruit exposed to ethylene reached full-red color 6.4 days (Expt. 1) and 4 days (Expt. 2) earlier than air-only fruit, respectively. There were no significant phytochemical and antioxidant differences noted for total carotenoids, total ascorbic acid, and soluble phenolics at various maturity stages due to ethylene exposure. Appreciable differences were observed between the two experiments for phytochemicals and antioxidants, as bell peppers from the latter experiment contained at least twice the concentrations of phytochemicals and antioxidant capacity as those from the first experiment. Differences in these parameters between experiments were attributed to environmental factors such as average temperature, day length, and light intensity. Ethylene was demonstrated to be an effective postharvest treatment for accelerating color change in this bell pepper cultivar, permitting earlier harvest without altering phytochemical synthesis rates.

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The effects of cultivar, harvest date, and production year on the soluble solids and antioxidant phytochemical levels of 22 strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) genotypes grown in a winter annual hill (raised bed) production system were investigated. Fruit harvested in Jan. 2003 and 2004 were characterized by low polyphenolic content, but high concentrations of soluble solids and ascorbic acid; whereas fruit harvested in Feb. 2003 and 2004 generally had elevated polyphenolic concentrations, but lower levels of soluble solids and ascorbic acid. Annual variation in soluble solids and phytochemical composition was also observed among nine strawberry genotypes, which was likely attributable to variations in solar radiation and air temperature. `Earlibrite' was among the highest for soluble solids concentration on three of the four harvest dates, while `Carmine' was noted for its high phytochemical concentrations across harvest dates and years. The breeder selection `FL 99-117' emerged as a promising selection in terms of producing fruit with high concentrations of soluble solids and antioxidant phytochemicals.

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