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F.M. Woods, J.S. Kotrola, D.G. Himelrick, T.M. Brasher and F.M. Basiouny

Fruit of two rabbiteye blueberries (Vaccinium ashei Read cvs. Premier and Tifblue) were analyzed at five stages of growth and development for cell wall softening enzymes in relation to pectin solubilization. The enzymes examined were β-galactosidase, cellulase, pectinesterase, and polygalacturonase. The decrease in fruit firmness was associated with increased activities of cellulase, polygalacturonase, and pectinesterase, which preceded the former enzymes. The activity of β-galactosidase remained relatively unchanged throughout. The pattern of enzyme activities from both cultivars were similar. Results from this study indicate that these enzymes may play a crucial role in overall fruit shelf life and hence postharvest marketing duration.

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F.M. Woods, D.G. Himelrick, R. Aynaou, G.E. Boyhan and T.M. Brasher

Changes in the activities of sucrose-metabolizing enzymes as related to ontogeny and ripening were studied in fruit mesocarp tissues of watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum & Nakai, cvs. A.U. Producer and Sweet Scarlet]. The levels of soluble sugars and the activities of sucrose synthase (SS; EC 2.4.1.13), sucrose-phosphate synthase (SPS; EC 2.4.1.14), and invertase (INV; EC 3.2.1.26) were measured. The temporal pattern of these enzymes relative to the levels of soluble sugars were similar for both cultivars. `Sweet Scarlet' was characterized by having higher INV and SPS activities, while SS activities tended to be similar in both cultivars during fruit development. During later stages of ripening, `Sweet Scarlet' tended toaccumulate reducing sugars, while `AU Producer' tended to accumulate sucrose and therefore had lower sucrose-cleaving enzyme activity. Results indicate that SPS and INV appear to play a prominent role in carbohydrate metabolism in developing and ripening tissues of watermelon.

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X. Zhang, F.M. Woods, R.C. Ebel, D.G. Himelrick, N.K. Singh and C. Mosjidis

A prevailing hypothesis indicates that a decrease in vegetative growth and cessation in floral initiation in strawberry in response to changes in photoperiod and temperature may correlate with hormonally induced changes. We investigated changes in endogenous free polyamines in crowns, flowers, leaves, and fruit of springbearing strawberries (Fragaria xananassa cvs. Chandler and Earliglow) in response to varying temperatures to induce flowering. Spermidine was the prominent free amine in crowns. No marked changes of putrescine, spermidine, and spermine were observed in crowns during the transition from vegetative to reproductive growth in either cultivar. In contrast, high levels of free polyamines were noted in young developing tissues such as the most recently initiated leaves, flower buds, and green fruit. When the putrescine synthesis inhibitor difluoromethylonithine (DFMO, 1 mm) was exogenously applied, levels of putrescine, spermidine, and spermine were altered in crown tissues in greenhouse experiments. These findings indicate that free polyamines may potentially be associated with the stimulation of new growth in springbearing strawberries under the present experimental conditions evaluated.

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F.M. Woods, C. Mosjidis, D. Hilmerick, R.C Ebel and B. Wilkins

Strawberry fruit (Fragaria ×ananassa `Chandler') were evaluated at five different stages of growth and development for changes in the senescence process in fruit tissues. Levels of total antioxidant activity, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), lipid peroxidation product, malondialdehyde, and ethylene production were determined. Total antioxidant activity (TAA) was measured in terms of in situ antioxidants to scavenge the ABTS.superscript +superscript radical cation. With the progression of ripening and senescence, there was a significant decline in TAA that coincided with increased concentration of H2O2, lipid peroxidation and increased production of ethylene. Our results illustrate that the senescence process in strawberry fruit is associated with the decline of TAA and the potential initiation and accumulation of reactive oxygen species. These results are additionally discussed in terms of potential processes associated with abiotic and biotic environmental stresses. Moreover, although strawberry fruit are typically classified as nonclimacteric, this study illustrates that the free radical mediated senescence process is similar to that of climacteric fruits.

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R.C. Ebel, W.A. Dozier, B. Hockema, F.M. Woods, R. Thomas, B.S. Wilkins, M. Nesbitt and R. McDaniel

This study was conducted to determine fruit quality of Satsuma mandarin Citrus unshiu, Marc. `Owari' grown on the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Soluble solids increased linearly and titratable acidity decreased quadratically during October and November for the four sampling years. There was no significant interaction between sampling date and year. There was a significant year effect for titratable acidity, but not soluble solids or their ratio. A 10:1 soluble solids to titratable acidity ratio was observed on 10 Nov. Variation in fruit weight corresponded with cropload. Fruit weight increased during the sampling period due to an increase in fruit length since there was no change in width. Peel color was yellow-orange by 10 Nov., with many fruit still exhibiting patches of green color. Because of some green color present in the peel, the fruit would have to be degreened for successful marketing in U.S. retail chain stores.

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T.J. Smalley, M.A. Dirr, A.M. Armitage, B.W. Wood, R.O. Teskey and R.F. Severson

Leaf water status, carbohydrate levels, net photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, ABA, dihydrozeatin riboside (DHZR), and trans-zeatin riboside (ZR) levels were determined in a greenhouse during rooting of stem cuttings of Acer rubrum L. `Red Sunset' taken on 3 Sept. 1987 and 28 May 1988. Leaf water status deteriorated before rooting and improved after root emergence. Leaf carbohydrate concentrations (glucose, sucrose, total soluble sugars, and total carbohydrates) increased until rooting and decreased after rooting, while changes in starch concentrations were trendless. ABA levels increased after insertion of cuttings into the rooting medium, but decreased before rooting. No correlation between timing of rooting and concentrations of the cytokinins ZR or DHZR was observed. Photosynthetic rates during rooting were higher for the Sept. 1987 cuttings and did not decrease to the compensation point as did those for May 1988 cuttings. Low photosynthetic rates and stomatal conductance of the cuttings during rooting were associated with water stress. The relationship between photosynthetic rates of such cuttings and cytokinin (CK) or ABA content was unclear. Chemical names used: [S-(Z,E]-5-(1-hydroxy-2,6,6-trimethyl-4-oxo-2-cyclohexen-1-yl)-3-methyl-2, 4-pentadienoic acid (abscisic acid, ABA); 2-methyl-4-(1H-purin-6-ylamino)-2-buten-1-ol (zeatin, Z).

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G. Findley, F.M. Woods, D.E. Conner, C. Mosjidis, S.J. Weese, C.A. Sundermann and C.I. Wei

Low-dose gamma-irradiation is becoming increasingly an attractive viable technology for control of food-borne pathogens and extension of shelf life of fruits and vegetables. Typically, gamma-irradiation treatment appears to transiently stimulate ethylene synthesis in tomato, which appears to be stress associated, and dose dependent (Larrigaudie et al., 199l). We have investigated the effects of gamma-irradiation treatment at doses of 0, 0.5, 0.75, and 1.0 kGy, alone and in combination with water-based chemical treatment for improving the storage of tomato maintained at 20 °C and 95% RH for 20 days of storage. Changes in ethylene, ascorbic acid and total antioxidant content, color, total soluble solids and carbohydrate concentration were examined. Our preliminary results indicate that these treatments are effective in reducing ethylene concentration in storage while providing a means of eliminating foodborne pathogens without adversely affecting tomato quality.

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R. Aynaou, F.M. Woods, R. Shewfelt, J.E. Brown, S. Tuzun, J.H. Cherry and L.G. Sanders

The ability of two tomato cultivars, Lycopersicon esculentum cv. VFNTCherry (chill sensitive) and L. esculentum × L. pimpinellifollim cv. New York 280 (chill tolerant) to acclimate to low temperature storage at 2 °C were compared following prior temperature preconditioning. The activities of catalase, peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase and electrolyte leakage were monitored during a 15-day preconditioning period. Low temperature preconditioning reduced membrane damage in both fruit. In contrast, high temperature preconditioning accelerated the rate of leakage in VFNT, while fruit of NY 280 remained relatively undamaged. Low temperature preconditioning stimulated a 4-fold increase in catalase and peroxidase activities in fruit of NY280. High-temperature preconditioning appeared only to benefit fruit of NY280. Regardless of pretreatment, no significant change in superoxide dismutase activities were observed for either cultivar. These findings suggest that the ability to acclimate to low temperature stress may correlate with increased levels of catalase and peroxidase.