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Rachel Leisso, Ines Hanrahan, and Jim Mattheis

‘Honeycrisp’ apple is susceptible to the postharvest chilling disorder soft scald that renders fruit unmarketable. Reducing or preventing this disorder is an important component of ‘Honeycrisp’ postharvest management. In commercial settings, advanced fruit maturity and orchard history contribute to an estimation of soft scald susceptibility, but additional at-harvest information indicative of soft scald risk would enable better management decisions. In this study, we obtained fruit from commercial orchards for 3 successive years, and assessed field growing degree days (GDD), field chilling hours (CH), and fruit quality metrics at harvest, followed by soft scald incidence assessment at 12 weeks of cold storage. The analyses indicated starch index, soluble solids content (SSC), internal ethylene concentration, titratable acidity (TA), peel background color, firmness, GDD, or CH do not reliably indicate fruit susceptibility to soft scald. However, SSC and TA were elevated in fruit that later developed soft scald, and a higher number of GDD also sometimes preceded soft scald, which is consistent with advanced fruit maturity that can enhance soft scald risk. Overall, results suggest that other tools may be required to accurately predict postharvest soft scald on a quality control laboratory scale. The statistical analyses applied to the present study would have utility for assessing other soft scald prediction tools or markers.

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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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R. Karina Gallardo, Ines Hanrahan, Yeon A Hong, and James J. Luby

This study assessed the potential impacts on grower profits when the crop load management is not optimal. We used a hedonic pricing model to estimate the relationship between ‘Honeycrisp’ apple (Malus ×domestica) quantities and prices by size category. This information was used to assess potential changes in grower returns as the grower shifts production toward certain size fruit. A grower would realize a loss of $5332/acre if production of size 48 to 88 count per 40-lb box decreased by 5% and size 100 to 163 count/box increased by 5% compared with current ‘Honeycrisp’ size distribution. In addition, we used experimental auctions to estimate consumers’ willingness-to-pay (WTP) for ‘Honeycrisp’ quality characteristics. Apple consumers, in this study, were willing to pay an average of $0.12/lb more for a one-unit increase in soluble solids concentration. A $0.12/lb discount for a decrease in soluble solids content (SSC) would represent a $1362/acre loss. Optimal sizes and SSC estimated in this study are linked with crop loads no larger than seven fruit/cm2 trunk cross-sectional area under Washington state growing conditions. Given the increasing popularity of ‘Honeycrisp’, growers and allied industries should be aware of the importance of preserving the quality of this cultivar to maintain price premiums and thus profit margins.

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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.