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George D. Nanos and F. Gordon Mitchell

`High-temperature controlled-atmosphere (high CO2/low O2) conditioning was investigated as a possible treatment to delay the incidence of internal breakdown of peaches and nectarines (Prunus persica L. Batsch) during subsequent cold storage. Maintaining an atmosphere of 5% to 15% CO2 added to air or to 1% to 5% O2 while conditioning peaches for 2 days at 20C partially prevented fruit ripening (compared to fruit conditioned in air), as measured by flesh softening and loss of green pigment, while no off-flavors were detected. Conditioning of peaches at 20C for 4 days in air or in air + 20% CO2 was detrimental to fruit quality, as indicated by flesh softening or detection of off-flavors.

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George D. Nanos and F. Gordon Mitchell

Storage at 0C of `O'Henry' and `Fairtime' peaches and `Red Jim' and `September Grand' nectarines (Prunus persica L. Batsch) resulted in significantly longer postharvest life than did storage at 5C, due to differences in the development of internal breakdown (IB) symptoms. Conditioning at 20C for 2 days before storage at 0 or 5C generally prolonged the storage life of fruit of these cultivars. The use of elevated CO2 during conditioning helped maintain fruit firmness. Addition of 5% CO2 to air gave the best results in maintaining fruit firmness and freedom from IB symptoms for up to 6 weeks. Reducing the O2 content kept flesh firmness high after storage but did not delay the appearance of IB. Conditioning at 30C using various atmospheres was less effective than conditioning at 20C.

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George D. Nanos, Roger J. Romani, and Adel A. Kader

The response of pear fruits and suspension-cultured pear fruit cells to 0% or 0.25% O2 is being examined to evaluate the feasibility of using such atmospheres for postharvest insect control. These treatments inhibited ethylene production, had no effect on acetaldehyde content, and increased ethanol production in pears kept at 20C for 10 days. The blossom end area of pear fruits was more prone to anaerobiosis, as indicated by increased alcohol dehydrogenase activity and ethanol content. Pear fruit plugs showed increased respiration and ethylene production rates when skin was present compared to plugs without skin. Methods for measuring activity of alcohol dehydrogenase, pyruvate decarboxylase, and pyruvate kinase have been modified and optimized and will be used to determine changes in pear fruit tissue during low O2 treatment and subsequent recovery in air.

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George D. Nanos, Elizabeth Agtsidou, and Evangelos M. Sfakiotakis

Ripening of detached mature-green and black-ripe olives (Olea europaea L., cv. Conservolea) was studied during storage at 0, 5, 10, or 20 °C in air or air plus 100-200 μL·L-1 propylene. Green olive skin h° remained unchanged after 24 days at 0 or 5 °C in air or air + propylene, while olives partially lost their green color at 10 °C and developed purple color at 20 °C together with a substantial flesh softening. Propylene partially delayed flesh softening only at 10 °C. Respiration of green and black olives increased with storage temperature. Black olives had higher respiration rate than green olives. Propylene had no substantial effect on green or black olive respiration rate, except for an increase in respiration and ripening rates of green olives kept at 20 °C. Ethylene production rate of air- or air + propylene-treated green olives was almost undetectable. Black olives had higher ethylene production rate than green olives and this rate significantly increased with storage temperature. Addition of propylene had only minor effect on ethylene production of black olives. No climacteric respiratory rise or autocatalytic ethylene production was observed in green and black olives.

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George D. Nanos, Roger J. Romani, and Adel A. Kader

`Bartlett' pears (Pyrus communis L.) at two physiological stages, climacteric minimum or approaching the climacteric peak as achieved via storage for 2 or 8 weeks in air at 0C, respectively, were either ripened at 20C in air immediately or after exposure to 0.25% 02 for 4 days at 20C. Fruit stored for 2 weeks had relatively stable phosphofructokinase (PFK), pyrophosphate: fru-6-P phosphotransferase (PFP), and pyruvate kinase (PK) activities but decreasing succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) activities during ripening in air. Similar fruit treated with 0.25% O2 had slightly increased PFK, PFP, and SDH activities and decreased PK activity. Fruit stored for 8 weeks exhibited higher levels of PFK and PFP activity upon transfer to 20C, in accordance with their more advanced physiological state. In general, the enzymic changes in these fruit upon exposure to 0.25% O2 and subsequent ripening in air were similar to those observed in the less-mature counterparts, most notable being an increase in mitochondrial SDH. Exposure of suspension-cultured pear fruit cells to hypoxia resulted in an accentuated rise in phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase activity and a dramatic rise in SDH activity upon transfer to air. Taken in concert, the enzymic analysis supports the hypothesis that the rise in succinate levels observed in hypoxic fruit tissues is the result of a partial reductive tricarboxylic acid cycle. Cytochrome oxidase activity did not change during hypoxia whereas soluble peroxidase decreased somewhat, perhaps a reflection of their Michaelis constants for O2.

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George D. Nanos, Roger J. Romani, and Adel A. Kader

`Bartlett' pears (Pyrus communis L.) that had been stored for either 2 or 8 weeks in air at 0C were placed under an atmosphere of 0.25% 0, (balance N2) at 20C for 4 days then returned to air. Control pears were kept in air at 20C. Suspension-cultured `Passe Crassane' pear fruit cells in aging medium were treated similarly. During exposure of the fruit to 0.25% O2, loss of greenness and ethylene production were inhibited and CO2 production substantially decreased. Pears that had been stored for 2 weeks at 0C ripened normally, while those that had been stored for 8 weeks at 0C failed to recover normal ethylene and CO2 production upon transfer to air after a 4-day exposure to 0.25% O2 at 20C. Most of the latter fruit were injured as indicated by skin browning. Acetaldehyde and ethanol content increased considerably with ripening of control fruit. Although 0.25% O2-treated fruit developed yet higher acetaldehyde and ethanol contents during treatment, the concentrations returned to or below normal during subsequent exposure to air. Pears exposed to 0.25% 0, had increased pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC; EC 4.1.1.1) and alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH; EC 1.1.1.1) activities that remained high after ripening in air for 6 days. Three ADH isozymes were discernible in the 0.25% O2-treated pears, whereas only one, ADHZ, was found in control fruit. These observations imply that preclimacteric pears are both less stressed during hypoxia and have greater potential for posthypoxia repair than pears of a more advanced physiological age. Increased posthypoxia respiratory and enzymatic activity and the elaboration of new ADH isoenzymes appear to be part of the repair response. Suspension-cultured pear fruit cells responded to the atmospheric changes very much like the S-week stored fruit and likely is a good model system to further study the effects of hypoxia on pear metabolism.