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Muharrem Ergun, Donald J. Huber, Jiwon Jeong and Jerry A. Bartz

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of ethylene action, via use of the ethylene antagonist 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP), on the senescence and quality of fresh-cut ripe papaya (Carica papaya L. `Sunrise Solo') fruit. Ripe papaya fruit were treated with 2.5 μL·L-1 1-MCP and immediately processed into fresh-cut slices or left intact. At 2-day intervals over 10 days at 5 °C, continuously stored slices were monitored for ethylene production, firmness, electrolyte leakage, color, sensory changes, and pathogen incidence. Slices freshly prepared from intact fruit stored under identical conditions were measured similarly. Ethylene production did not differ significantly between the treatments, although production rates were slightly but consistently higher in slices from intact control compared with intact 1-MCP-treated fruit. Mesocarp firmness of continuously stored slices and slices from fruit stored intact was significantly retained by 1-MCP. Firmness of continuously stored slices from 1-MCP-treated fruit declined 50% compared with 75% for control slices. Firmness of fresh-cut slices prepared from intact control and 1-MCP-treated fruit at each sampling interval declined 26% and 15%, respectively. Electrolyte leakage remained low and changed little in slices freshly prepared from fruit stored intact. Leakage from continuously stored papaya slices increased after 4 days, and after 6 days controls increased significantly compared with stored slices derived from papaya fruit initially treated with the ethylene antagonist. The flesh color of continuously stored slices or slices prepared from fruit stored intact was influenced by 1-MCP only during the later periods of storage. Microbial counts in stored slices or slices prepared at each sampling were generally unaffected by 1-MCP. Informal sensory analysis indicated that the edible shelf life was 6 days in stored slices from 1-MCP-treated fruit compared with 2 to 3 days for stored slices from control fruit.

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A. Urena, D.J. Huber, J.A. Bartz and C.K. Chandler

Biological control using antagonistic microorganisms has been the subject of increased interest for postharvest pathogen control. Gray mold is an important factor in the perishability of strawberry fruit, both pre- and postharvest. In view of the specific characteristics of this host–pathogen interaction, strawberry fruit represent a suitable commodity with which to investigate the efficacy of alternative control, including the use of biological measures. During 1994 and 1995, ripe strawberry fruit were harvested from local plantings and endemic microflora were analyzed for potential antagonist modes of action toward B. cinerea. Two bacteria were isolated and these, along with other bacteria and yeast obtained from other sources, were used to inoculate strawberry fruit stored at different temperatures. Effects of storage temperature and interactions of pathogen/antagonist and fruit quality were determined. The results illustrate the potential of using yeast at low temperatures and bacteria at higher, ambient conditions to achieve effective postharvest control of B. cinerea. Microorganisms derived from the fruit and of presumably local origin exhibited significant biocontrol effects and showed a higher capacity for adaptation to the handling practices of strawberry fruit, especially at lower storage temperatures.

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S.M. Smith, J.W. Scott, J.A. Bartz and S.A. Sargent

Harvested tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) fruit can absorb water via stem scar tissues. Decay incidence {bacterial soft rot (Erwinia carotovora Jones), sour rot (Geotrichum candidum Link), bacterial sour rot [Leuconostoc mesenteroides (Tsenkovskii) van Tieghem ssp. mesenteroides], and certain species of Lactobacillus Beijerinck} has been positively linked with the degree of water absorption. Previous studies have shown that cultivars differ in their tendencies to take up water during a simulation of packinghouse handling procedures. The inheritance of water absorption tendency was examined in two seasons of tests where six inbred tomato lines were intercrossed to develop a complete diallel. Following harvest at the mature-green stage, fruit were weighed, submerged in water for 2 min, and then reweighed to determine water absorption. Parental lines were tested in three seasons. Two parental lines, Fla. 7776 and Fla. 7946, were always in the low-absorption grouping, and NC84173 also had relatively low absorption. Fla. 8059 and Fla. 7777 were always in the high-absorption group, and Fla. 8000 tended to have high absorption. General combining ability for the low water absorption fruit characteristic was significant for both seasons with a higher level of significance in the spring over the fall season (P ≤ 0.001 and P ≤ 0.05, respectively), while specific combining ability was not significant for either season. Thus, the low water absorption fruit characteristic appears to be additively inherited. Accurate knowledge of parental absorption should allow prediction of hybrid performance. None of the hybrids absorbed unexpected amounts of water over both seasons. Reciprocal effects were significant (P ≤ 0.05) for fall, and maternal effects were significant (P ≤ 0.05) in spring. However, there was no general trend in water absorption due to the direction of the cross and thus no clear evidence for cytoplasmic inheritance. Water absorption was much greater in spring than in fall. Based on previous observations, the greater absorption in spring was due to higher field temperatures. Because of such environmental effects, parent lines should be replicated and tested over several seasons to accurately assess their relative water absorption. Crosses between consistently low water absorption parents should provide low-absorption hybrids, but testing of hybrids before release is suggested to verify this.

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S.M. Smith, J.W. Scott, J.A. Bartz and S.A. Sargent

Fresh market tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum L.) handled through dump tanks and flumes at packinghouses can absorb water via stem scar tissues. This water uptake can lead to internalization of various hazardous bacteria, including Erwinia carotovora (Jones), the causal agent of bacterial soft rot. Studies were conducted to determine if the interval between harvest and water immersion affected water uptake for ‘Florida 47’ and ‘Sebring’, cultivars with high and low water uptake, respectively. Fruit were held for 2, 8, 14, and 26 hours after harvest for the fall season and 2, 4, 6, 8, and 14 hours for the following spring season before water immersion. Mature green fruit were weighed, submerged in water for 2 min and then reweighed to determine water uptake. During the submergence, air pressure was applied such that the fruit were exposed to a static water-head equivalent to 1.3 m. In the fall season ‘Sebring’ fruit absorbed significantly less water than ‘Florida 47’ fruit at 8 and 26 hours after harvest. In the spring season fruit of ‘Sebring’ absorbed significantly less water than ‘Florida 47’ at all times after harvest, confirming results of previous studies. In the fall season, the time interval between harvest and treatment did not affect water uptake for either cultivar. By contrast, in the spring season fruit absorbed significantly greater amounts of water at 2 hours as compared with 4, 6, 8, and 14 hours after harvest, whereas similar amounts of water were absorbed at 4–14 hours after harvest. Therefore, to minimize the tendency of fruit to absorb water, packinghouse managers should hold freshly harvested fruit for at least 4 hours before immersing them in the dump tank.

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M.C.N. Nunes, A.M.M.B. Morais, J.K. Brecht, S.A. Sargent and J.A. Bartz

Delays in initiating the cooling of freshly harvested `Chandler' strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa) were compared with prompt cooling to determine how such handling affected development of postharvest decays during subsequent storage and marketing. Strawberries at the three-quarter to full red ripeness stages were harvested four times between mid-June and late July, inoculated with Botrytis cinerea or Rhizopus stolonifer and then handled to simulate prompt or delayed precooling prior to storage. This was done by incubating fruit at 35 °C (95.0 °F) and 70% to 80% relative humidity (RH) for 1 or 6 hours. The fruit were then forced-air cooled to 5 °C (41.0 °F) in 1 hour and stored for 7 days at 2 °C (35.6 °F) and 85% to 95% RH, plus displayed in a simulated market at 20 °C (68.0 °F) and 85% RH for 1 day. Decay incidence increased as the season progressed. For non-inoculated fruit, prompt cooling reduced the incidence of decay by an average of 25% and the decay severity by ∼24%. With inoculated fruit, prompt cooling resulted in 15% and 29% decreases in the incidence and severity, respectively, of rhizopus rot compared to delayed cooling, and 5% and 22% decreases in the incidence and severity, respectively, of botrytis rot. Overall, the incidence of botrytis and rhizopus fruit rot averaged 60% and 85% in the prompt and delayed cooling treatments, respectively. Although prompt cooling is important for minimizing postharvest decay of strawberries, temperature management alone may not sufficiently control postharvest decay when decay pressure is high.

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K. Felkey, D.L. Archer, R.M. Goodrich, K.R. Schneider and J.A. Bartz

This study examined the efficacy of chlorine treatments of flume water for eliminating Salmonella spp. from inoculated wounds and intact surfaces of tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum). Water in a scale-model flume was chlorinated to 150 mg·L-1 of free chlorine at pH 6.5 and maintained at a temperature of 25 or 35 °C, depending on the test. Viable Salmonella were recovered from all of the inoculation sites (intact fruit surface, punctures, shaves, and stem scars) even after treatment with chlorinated water for up to 120 seconds at either 25 or 35 °C. Generally, the highest Salmonella recovery came from puncture wounds and the lowest from the intact surfaces. After 120 seconds at 25 °C, 4.9 to 5.8 log10 units were recovered from the wounds. Populations recovered after the 30-second treatment at 35 °C ranged from 4.1 log10 cfu/mL for intact surfaces to 6.0 log10 cfu/mL in the puncture wounds. At 60- and 120-second treatment times, all wounds had higher mean populations than tomatoes with intact surfaces. Although greater Salmonella survival was associated with shorter exposure to the chlorine, water chlorination cannot completely eliminate contamination of tomato fruit by Salmonella, even on intact surfaces. Stem scars, in this study, were not readily disinfected with sodium hypochlorite.

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J.W. Scott, S.M. Olson, T.K. Howe, P.J. Stoffella, J.A. Bartz and H.H. Bryan

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J.W. Scott, S.M. Olson, H.H. Bryan, J.A. Bartz, D.N. Maynard and P.J. Stoffella

`Solar Fire' is a heat-tolerant hybrid tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L. formerly Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) with resistance to all three races of Fusarium wilt incited by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici Sacc. Snyder & Hansen. It has superior fruit-setting ability in comparison with most existing cultivars under high temperatures (>32 °C day/>21 °C night), and the fruit crack less under the rainy field conditions often present in the early fall Florida production season. Fla. 7776 is the pollen parent in `Solar Fire', providing much of the heat tolerance in this hybrid. It has large fruit-providing breeders with a parent to produce heat-tolerant hybrids with two heat-tolerant parents.

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John W. Scott, Elizabeth A. Baldwin, Harry J. Klee, Jeffrey K. Brecht, Stephen M. Olson, Jerry A. Bartz and Charles A. Sims