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  • Author or Editor: Julie Collins x
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Ultraviolet light treatment has been used successfully to reduce postharvest fungal decay in tomatoes, strawberries, peaches, and citrus, presumably through elevated spore death and/or increased phytoalexins. The purpose of this experiment was to determine the effectiveness of UVC light as a postharvest treatment for blueberries. `Blue Crop' and `Collins' fruit were harvested from a local grower in 2003 and 2004 and exposed to 0, 1000, 2000, and 4000 Joules of light (354 nm) supplied from 30-W germicidal bulbs. Fruit were held at 5 °C for 14 days. Application of 1000 to 2000 J UVC light reduced decay incidence by 10% compared to controls. The major decay organism was ripe rot (Collectotrichum gloeosporioides). Total phenolics, total anthocyanin, and ferric reducing absorbance power differed with variety, increased with storage, and were similar among light treatments. Firmness of non-decayed fruit was not affected by storage or treatment. Application of UVC light offers a means for reducing fungal decay in blueberries if applied at rates between 1000 and 4000 J.

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Cultural practices have been reported to affect quality and phytonutrient content of watermelon. Knowing which varieties perform best under various production systems, and how these systems affect quality, yield, and phytonutrient content, is imperative to ensure high quality and yield. There is limited information on how watermelon [Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai] varieties perform when grown with organic practices. Production characteristics of six watermelon varieties from certified organic seed sources were compared under high-(black plastic and mechanical cultivation for weed control) and low-input (no-till) organic culture. The high-input method utilized black plastic mulch and mechanical cultivation for weed control. The low-input utilized no-till planting. `Triple Star' was the most productive seedless variety in terms of number of fruit and marketable yield when data were combined across locations. `Early Moonbeam' produced the largest number of fruit, and the smallest fruit, of the seeded varieties. `Allsweet', a seeded variety, had the best marketable yield due to its larger size. `Triple Star' had the best quality (lycopene and °Brix content) when data were combined across locations. Among the seeded varieties, `Allsweet' had the best quality at both locations; however, average lycopene content on a per-fruit basis under low input production was not significantly different when compared to `Sugar Baby'. High-input production methods almost doubled the number of fruit produced for all varieties, producing greater yields, and heavier average fruit weights, but lower °Brix and lycopene content compared to the low-input production method.

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Mini watermelons are the size of cantaloupes and weigh 1.5 to 3 kg (4 to 8 lbs). Melons of 18 selections were grown in replicated trials in North Carolina, South Carolina, and north and south Florida. Melons were harvested when ripe, and samples of heart and locule tissue were frozen and sent to Lane, Okla. A total of 960 samples, representing 6-12 melons per selection per location, were analyzed for total lycopene content using colorimeter and spectrophotometer methods. Subsamples of `Mohican', `Hazera 6007', `Vanessa', `Petite Treat', and `Precious Petite' were analyzed by HPLC for carotenoid profiles. Total lycopene content ranged from 52 to 108 μg·g-1, depending on variety. Selections were grouped into two levels of lycopene content. The varieties Precious Petite, Petite Perfection, Betsy, Bonny, Petite Treat, Valdoria, Vanessa, Hazera 5133 and 5138, RWT 8149, 8155, 8162 had 60 to 79 μg·g-1 lycopene and the varieties Hazera 6007, 5123, 5109, 5177, Mohican, and Extazy had 80 to 100 μg·g-1. Melons harvested from the Florida locations had more total lycopene than those from North and South Carolina. `Precious Petite' had more β-carotene as a percentage of total carotenoids than other varieties tested. These results indicate that lycopene content is affected primarily by germplasm and also by environment.

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