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David R. Rudell and James P. Mattheis

`Golden Delicious' apple [Malus sylvestris var. domestica (Borkh.)] cortex disks suspended in solutions containing a nitric oxide (•NO) donor [S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) or sodium nitroprusside (SNP)], •NO gas, or nitrite (KNO2) were used to identify impacts of •NO on ethylene production and NO2 on •NO and ethylene production. Treatment with GSNO or SNP reduced ethylene biosynthesis compared with control treatments containing equimolar concentrations of oxidized glutathione (GSSG) or Na4(CN)6 respectively. Apple disk exposure to •NO gas did not impact ethylene production. Treatment with NO2 resulted in increased •NO production and decreased ethylene biosynthesis. Generation of •NO increased linearly whereas ethylene generation decreased exponentially with increasing NO2 treatment concentration. •NO was enhanced in autoclaved tissue disks treated with NO2 , suggesting that its production is produced at least in part by nonenzymatic means. Although this evidence shows •NO is readily generated in apple fruit disks by NO2 treatment, and ethylene synthesis is reduced by •NO/NO2 generated in solution, the exact nature of •NO generation from NO2 and ethylene synthesis modulation in apple fruit disks remains to be elucidated.

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Bradley J. Rickard, David R. Rudell and Christopher B. Watkins

Recently there has been much progress in the development of technologies that use biomarkers to detect and manage postharvest physiological disorders for apples in long-term storage. Such technologies have the capacity to alleviate fruit loss by allowing storage operators to more effectively manage the disorder by adjusting stock distribution. The technology may also reduce costs for storage materials and associated management activities. However, as is common for many new technologies that have not yet been adopted commercially in agriculture, the net economic value of the technology is not well understood and is difficult to assess ex ante. In horticultural markets that include quality (and price) differentiated products, technologies that affect grading are expected to impact revenues in nontrivial ways. Here we develop a framework to assess the likely range of economic implications associated with the adoption of the biomarker technology that allows a greater share of fruit to be marketed in a higher grade and may influence the costs of storing fruit. Results indicate that 10% increases in the share of higher quality fruit lead to increased profits of between 0.99% and 3%. A scenario that leads to a 10% increase in the share of fruit in higher grades and a 10% decrease in material costs for storage would increase profits by ≈4.4%. Our analysis and results are specific to the case of biomarker use to manage postharvest disorders for ‘Empire’ [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill var. domestica Borkh.] apples, yet the framework can be used with cultivar-specific price and yield information to assess the ex ante economic implications of adopting the technology more generally.

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James P. Mattheis, David R. Rudell and Ines Hanrahan

‘Honeycrisp’ apples are susceptible to develop the physiological disorder bitter pit. This disorder typically develops during storage, but preharvest lesion can also develop. ‘Honeycrisp’ is also chilling sensitive, and fruit is typically held at 10–20 °C after harvest for up to 7 days to reduce development of chilling injury (CI) during subsequent cold storage. This temperature conditioning period followed by a lower storage temperature (2–4 °C) reduces CI risk but can exacerbate bitter pit development. Bitter pit development can be impacted in other apple cultivars by the use of controlled atmosphere (CA) storage and/or 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP). Studies were conducted to evaluate efficacy of CA and/or 1-MCP to manage ‘Honeycrisp’ bitter pit development. Apples from multiple lots, obtained at commercial harvest, were held at 10 °C for 7 days and then cooled to 3 °C. Half the fruit was exposed to 42 μmol·L−1 1-MCP the day of receipt while held at 10 °C. Fruit were stored in air or CA (3 kPa O2, 0.5 kPa CO2 for 2 days, then 1.5 kPa O2, 0.5 kPa CO2) established after 1 day at 10 °C or after 7 days at 10 °C plus 2 days at 3 °C. Fruit treated with 1-MCP and/or stored in CA developed less bitter pit compared with untreated fruit stored in air, and bitter pit incidence was lowest for 1-MCP-treated fruit with CA established during conditioning. Development of diffuse flesh browning (DFB) and cavities, reported to occur during ‘Honeycrisp’ CA storage, was observed in some lots. Incidence of these disorders was not enhanced by establishing CA 2 days compared with 9 days after harvest. 1-MCP and CA slowed peel color change, loss of soluble solids content (SSC) and titratable acidity (TA), and reduced ethylene production and respiration rate. The results indicate potential for the postharvest management of bitter pit development in ‘Honeycrisp’ apple through use of 1-MCP and/or CA storage.

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Jinwook Lee, James P. Mattheis and David R. Rudell

‘Royal Gala’ apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] fruit can be susceptible to the development of postharvest disorders such as flesh breakdown and cracking (splitting) during and after cold storage. The objective of this research was to investigate fruit size and 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) treatment effects on fruit physiological attributes and incidence and severity of storage disorders in ‘Royal Gala’ apples held in cold storage. In 2011, fruit segregated at harvest into two groups based on size (120 to 175, 250 to 350 g/fruit) were stored in air at 0.5 °C for 6 months and then at 20 °C for 7 days. In 2012, fruit were sorted into four groups (less than 200, 200 to 240, 241 to 280, and greater than 280 g/fruit), treated with 0 or 1 μL·L−1 1-MCP for 12 hours, and then stored in air at 0.5 °C for 3 or 6 months. Storage disorders were only detected at 6 months, regardless of 1-MCP treatment. In both control and 1-MCP-treated fruit, flesh breakdown incidence increased with fruit size, whereas severity was less associated with size. The progression of flesh breakdown developed in overall cortex tissue of control fruit but only detected in the stem-end tissue of 1-MCP-treated fruit. Internal ethylene concentration (IEC) decreased and CO2 production increased with increased fruit weight; however, 1-MCP-treated fruit had low IEC regardless of weight. Cortex tissue lightness (L*) increased with fruit size irrespective of tissue localization (stem end, equatorial, calyx end) at harvest. During 6 months’ storage, L* decreased with increased fruit size in controls but not 1-MCP-treated fruit. Fruit fresh weight loss increased with fruit size and storage duration, more so in controls when compared with 1-MCP-treated fruit. Furthermore, fruit circumference increased during storage with fruit size only for control fruit. These physical changes are associated with susceptibility of large fruit to flesh breakdown more so than small fruit. Reduced flesh breakdown incidence, progression of symptoms from the stem end into the cortex, and symptom severity in 1-MCP-treated fruit may indicate flesh breakdown is related to fruit ripening and senescence.

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Jinwook Lee, James P. Mattheis and David R. Rudell

‘Royal Gala’ apples can be susceptible to the incidence of fruit cracking and senescent flesh breakdown during cold storage. Because the development of these physiological disorders in other cultivars can be influenced by humidity during storage, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of high storage humidity on fruit quality attributes and incidence of physiological disorders in cold-stored ‘Royal Gala’ apples. Fruit obtained from a commercial orchard were kept in cardboard boxes with or without a perforated polyethylene liner during and after cold storage. High storage humidity induced by the perforated polyethylene liner reduced fresh weight loss but enhanced the change of fruit circumference after cold storage. High storage humidity contributed the most reduction of cortex lightness (L*) and hue angle (h o) in stem-end cortex tissues during shelf life. Fruit stored with liners had reduced internal ethylene concentration (IEC) and outer cortex firmness after removal from storage compared with control fruit. Furthermore, high storage humidity prevented shriveling but provoked fruit cracking. The incidence and severity of flesh breakdown were further aggravated during shelf life, compared with cold storage, regardless of a liner application. Overall, maintaining high storage humidity by applying a perforated polyethylene liner can contribute to delaying fresh weight loss, reducing IEC, and preventing fruit shriveling but can enhance cortex tissue browning, loss of flesh firmness, and incidence of fruit cracking during cold storage and shelf life.

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Jinwook Lee, James P. Mattheis and David R. Rudell

‘Royal Gala’ apples [Malus domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.]can develop postharvest disorders such as flesh browning, senescent breakdown, peeling, cracking, or shriveling during and after cold storage. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of storage temperature and a range (0, 0.25, 0.5, or 1 µL·L−1) of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) concentrations on fruit quality attributes and incidence and severity of physiological disorders during and after cold storage. Storage temperature differentially affected internal ethylene concentration (IEC), fruit circumference, and cortex color. 1-MCP treatment resulted in significant effects on fruit quality attributes and severity of physiological disorders, regardless of storage temperature. Incidence and severity of diffuse flesh breakdown (DFB), shriveling, cracking, and peeling were highest in control fruit stored but radial stem-end flesh breakdown (RSFB) only primarily in 1-MCP-treated fruit. Incidence of RSFB was highest following storage at 0.5 °C compared with 3 °C. 1-MCP treatment had the most influence on disorder incidence/severity or quality attributes, while treatment concentration of 1-MCP was not significant. Overall, the results indicate that 1-MCP treatment can reduce the incidence of ‘Royal Gala’ DFB but may enhance sensitivity to RSFB, when fruit are stored at 0.5 or 3 °C. Incidence of DFB and RSFB are influenced differentially by storage temperature or by 1-MCP treatment, respectively, indicating they may be different disorders.

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David R. Rudell, John K. Fellman and James P. Mattheis

Repeated preharvest applications of methyl jasmonate (MJ) to 'Fuji' apple [Malus sylvestris var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] fruit were evaluated for impacts on peel color, size, fruit finish, and maturation. MJ treatments at 2 week intervals began 48 days after full bloom (DAFB) (early season) or 119 DAFB (late season) and fruit were harvested 172 DAFB. MJ treatment stimulated significant increases in peel red color following the initial application and thereafter. Early season MJ treatment reduced fruit diameter and length to diameter ratio but slowed softening and starch hydrolysis. Fruit receiving late season MJ treatments had increased incidence of bitter pit and splitting, shorter green life, and slower softening. Results suggest preharvest application of MJ impacts apple color development and other aspects of fruit quality. Chemical name used: methyl 3-oxo-2-(2-pentenyl)cyclopentane-1-acetate (methyl jasmonate).

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David R. Rudell, Sara Serra, Nathanael Sullivan, James P. Mattheis and Stefano Musacchi

Physiological variability within a large canopy ‘d’Anjou’ tree results from agronomic and environmental factors. Fruit diversity within the canopy was surveyed using metabolic profiling to identify metabolism associated variability within the canopy. Different portions of the same fruit were evaluated to determine future precise sampling protocols for metabolic profiling of pear. We expected that the metabolic profile of the peel and cortex would be diverse and these differences would highlight specific metabolic pathways as influenced by these conditions. Another focus of this work was developing an untargeted metabolic profiling protocol tailored for pear using a combination of extractions coupled with GC-MS and LC-MS analysis. ‘d’Anjou’ pear fruit harvested from two different zones of trees trained to an open vase canopy were maintained at room temperature for 24 days to observe any changes in external phenotype and metabolic profile. Fruit harvested from the internal canopy were greener as also indicated by high Index of Absorbance Difference (IAD) and hue angle values. Metabolic profile differences between tree positions were widespread and included metabolites from many pathways beyond those associated with peel color. In addition, peel metabolic profile was different depending upon the tissue position (top vs. bottom) sampled from the pears. Specific pathways altered by tree position included those potentially linked to fruit quality and ripeness, including malic acid and aroma volatile (V) levels, as well as light environment, such as flavonol glycoside levels. Present results warrant further future work targeting these changes over time during storage and alongside fruit quality analyses to validate the impacts on ripening and tree factors. In addition, outcomes indicate tissue sampling strategies require consistency with respect to the region of the pear fruit sampled for metabolomics.

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Rachel S. Leisso, Ines Hanrahan, James P. Mattheis and David R. Rudell

The physiology and metabolism characterizing postharvest chilling and CO2 injury in apple has important implications for postharvest management of soft scald and soggy breakdown. This research assessed differences of primary metabolism related to soggy breakdown (cortex CI) and CO2 cortex injury in ‘Honeycrisp’ apple fruit. Results indicate that prestorage temperature conditioning, diphenylamine (DPA), and CA treatments alter fruit metabolism and affect peel and cortex storage disorder outcome. A preliminary summary of primary metabolism involved with soggy breakdown under high CO2 includes increased activity in glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, propionate metabolism, and alanine, aspartate, and glutamate metabolism.

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Carolina A. Torres, Omar Hernandez, Maria A. Moya-León, Ivan Razmilic and David R. Rudell

A distinct type of postharvest skin browning on apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) fruit called “stain” is a frequent disorder in ‘Fuji’ grown under high light and elevated temperatures. Symptoms typically develop only on sun-exposed sections of the fruit regardless of the presence of sunburn symptoms, and sometimes only in the margins of this area. The role of different antioxidant systems in tissue exposed to different levels of sunlight and having different degrees of sun injury were investigated during cold storage [1 °C, >90% (relative humidity) RH]. Ascorbic acid (AsA) and glutathione (GSH) concentrations, AsA–GSH recycling enzyme activities and gene expression, and flavonoids and carotenoid concentrations were determined every 30 days. “Stain” incidence increased with sun exposure and sunburn level. Both shaded and exposed fruit peel without sunburn symptoms had the highest AsA content. The AsA–GSH recycling enzyme activities and gene expression levels had no clear relationship with sun exposure during cold storage. Chlorophyll a (chl a) and chlorophyll b (chl b) levels diminished over time and were higher in tissue without any type of sun injury. In contrast, carotenoid levels increased as sun injury incidence increased and remained relatively stable during storage. Total phenolics and quercetin glycoside levels changed coincidently during storage. Results indicate that the AsA–GSH cycle does not have a clear role in “stain” development. Nevertheless, reduced ascorbate levels may reduce the capacity to prevent oxidative stress–provoked damage which may, in turn, result in oxidation of quercetin glycosides, which would then lead to skin browning.