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David Obenland, Sue Collin, James Sievert and Mary Lu Arpaia

Navel oranges were subjected to high-temperature forced-air (HTFA) treatment to evaluate the effect on quality and sensory attributes as well as flavor volatiles of a treatment protocol designed to disinfest citrus of Anastrepha spp. fruit flies. The treatment consisted of heating the fruit to a core temperature of 44 °C and then holding it there for 100 min, after which the fruit were placed into storage for 4 weeks. The fruit were removed from storage and evaluated for surface injury, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), and then judged for sensory characteristics by a semiexpert panel. In a separate experiment, fruit were removed at 30-min intervals from the treatment chamber and sensory quality as well as flavor volatiles determined to obtain an estimate of when the flavor changes occurred. It was found that the HTFA treatment caused a significant loss in flavor quality that was most closely linked to a loss in the fresh flavor of the fruit. The HTFA-treated fruit were also determined by panelists to be less sweet, although the SSC/TA ratio was increased by treatment. Neither storage nor waxing after treatment appeared to alter the HTFA effect, although waxing before treatment greatly enhanced the negative effect on flavor. Flavor began to be significantly affected during the final 30 min of treatment. The flavor changes occurred at the same time as large increases in the amount of four esters, two of which were present in concentrations exceeding aroma thresholds and are likely involved in the loss in flavor quality induced by HTFA treatment.

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Xuan Liu, James Sievert, Mary Lu Arpaia and Monica A. Madore

Avocado (Persea americana Mill.) tissues contain high levels of the seven-carbon (C7) ketosugar mannoheptulose and its polyol form, perseitol. Radiolabeling of intact leaves of `Hass' avocado on `Duke 7' rootstock indicated that both perseitol and mannoheptulose are not only primary products of photosynthetic CO2 fixation but are also exported in the phloem. In cell-free extracts from mature source leaves, formation of the C7 backbone occurred by condensation of a three-carbon metabolite (dihydroxyacetone-P) with a four-carbon metabolite (erythrose-4-P) to form sedoheptulose-1,7-bis-P, followed by isomerization to a phosphorylated d-mannoheptulose derivative. A transketolase reaction was also observed which converted five-carbon metabolites (ribose-5-P and xylulose-5-P) to form the C7 metabolite, sedoheptulose-7-P, but this compound was not metabolized further to mannoheptulose. This suggests that C7 sugars are formed from the Calvin Cycle, not oxidative pentose phosphate pathway, reactions in avocado leaves. In avocado fruit, C7 sugars were present in substantial quantities and the normal ripening processes (fruit softening, ethylene production, and climacteric respiration rise), which occurs several days after the fruit is picked, did not occur until levels of C7 sugars dropped below an apparent threshold concentration of ≈20 mg·g-1 fresh weight. The effect of picking could be mimicked by girdling the fruit stalks, which resulted in ripening on the tree. Again, ripening followed a decline in C7 sugars to below an apparent threshold level. Taken together, these data indicate that the C7 sugars play important roles in carbon allocation processes in the avocado tree, including a possible novel role as phloem-mobile ripening inhibitors.

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David Obenland, Dennis Margosan, Sue Collin, James Sievert, Kent Fjeld, Mary Lu Arpaia, James Thompson and David Slaughter

The use of ultraviolet fluorescence to identify freeze-damaged navel oranges (Citrus sinensis) was evaluated using fruit harvested following a natural freeze that occurred in California in Jan. 2007. Navel oranges were harvested after the freeze from 14 sites that were previously determined to have a slight to moderate amount of freeze damage. The fruit were evaluated for the presence of small yellow spots characteristic of freeze damage that fluoresce when viewed under a ultraviolet-A (365 nm) source and were then cut and rated using a method currently used by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to determine the presence of internal freeze damage. The percentage of freeze-damaged fruit in each lot as determined by the CDFA method ranged from 0% to 89%. The accuracy of classifying fruit as freeze damaged in each lot by peel fluorescence averaged 44%, with the fruit lots containing the greatest amount of freeze damage having the highest classification percentages. False-positives occurred at a lower rate than false-negatives among the lots. Although some fading was evident, the fluorescence persisted and was readily visible for at least 9 weeks after the freeze event. Removal of fruit with ultraviolet peel fluorescence was ineffective in reducing the percentage of damaged fruit within the examined lots. In the second part of the test, eighteen lots of potentially freeze-damaged fruit were obtained from a packing house, immediately evaluated for freeze damage using ultraviolet light, and then after 4 weeks of storage, were evaluated again using the CDFA method. Fruit that had a slight to moderate degree of freeze damage were tasted and evaluated for sensory characteristics. Both methods of freeze damage detection were poorly related to the sensory characteristics.