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  • Author or Editor: M. Cantwell x
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Minimal processing of green onions (Allium cepa × A. fistulosum) involves trimming and removing damaged leaves, cutting of roots, and removal of the compressed stem. If the stem tissue is completely removed with the roots, the white inner leaf bases may extend, or “telescope,” during storage. Storage at 0 °C greatly retards extension growth, but storage at 5 °C results in unacceptable extension rates. To maintain high quality and to extend the shelf life of intact and minimally processed green onions, the potential benefits of heat treatments and controlled atmosphere storage were evaluated. Atmospheres of 0.1% to 0.2% O2 or 0.1% to 0.2% O2 containing 7.5% to 9.0% CO2 at 5 °C were the CA conditions that best maintained visual appearance and prolonged shelf life to more than 2 weeks in both intact and cut onions. No CA treatment completely controlled “telescoping” at 5 °C. Several heat treatment combinations (52.5 and 55 °C water for 4 and 2 min, respectively) of the white inner leaf bases were effective in controlling “telescoping” of cut green onions stored at 5 °C. The effective heat treatments resulted in higher average respiration rates during 12 days, but did not affect the visual quality or shelf life of the cut green onions. Total soluble sugars decreased in intact or cut green onions, but concentrations were maintained in heat -treated onions. Thiosulfinate concentrations did not vary importantly during 14 days at 5 °C, except for a reduction in heat-treated onions not stored under CA.

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Relationships between storage quality attributes, such as russet spotting and browning intensity, and physiological attributes, such as soluble phenolic content and polyphenol oxidase (PPO) and phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) activities, of minimally processed crisphead lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) were studied. The processed lettuce tissue was kept in air or air plus ethylene at 2 or 5 μl·liter-1 at 2.5 or 5C for 1 to 4 days and then transferred to air at 2.5, 5, or 20C for 1 to several days. None of the above physiological attributes of the initial samples from eight lettuce cultivars (Calmar, El Toro, Sea Green, Pacific, Monterey, Salinas 88, 86-13, and Nerone) and three maturity stages (immature, mature, and overmature) correlated with their storage quality. However, ethylene-induced PPO and PAL activities and browning intensity measured 3 to 4 days after harvest consistently and significantly correlated with the final visual quality of the ethylene-treated, minimally processed lettuce after 6 to 10 days of storage. Among these three attributes, ethylene induced a 2.5- to 5.3-fold increase in PAL activity, while the relative changes in PPO activity and browning intensity were only 23% to 68%. Ethylene-induced PAL activity possibly may be used as an index to predict the storage life of minimally processed lettuce.

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Extension growth of minimally processed (removal of roots and compressed stem) green onions (Allium cepa L. × A. fistulosum L.) was greatly reduced by storage in air at 0 °C, while growth of 10-20 mm occurred at 5 °C over 10 days. Heat treatments of 52.5 and 55 -°C water for 4 and 2 min, respectively, were especially effective in reducing growth to less than 5 mm during 12-14 days at 5 °C. Growth was inhibited irrespective of whether the heat treatments were applied before or after cutting. Heat treatments resulted in higher average respiration rates during 12 days at 5 °C, but did not affect the overall visual quality or shelf life. Treatments with 52.5 °C water alone or in combination with different chlorine concentrations (50 to 400 mg·L-1 NaOCl, pH 7.0) were more effective than use of water or chlorine solutions at 20 °C for initial microbial disinfection.

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Garlic (cv California Late) was produced under four irrigation regimes (110% and 130% evapotranspiration with two water cut-off dates, 10 and 24 May 1999) in combination with three nitrogen fertilization levels (100, 250, and 400 lb total N). Bulbs were manually harvested mid-June, cured 3 weeks shaded at ambient temperatures and the outer whorl of cloves manually peeled. Samples were freeze-dried, and carbohydrate (fructan and free sugars) and alliin (substrate for alliinase activity and indicator of potential pungency) concentrations were determined by HPLC. The percent dry weight was not affected by the irrigation treatment, but was reduced with increased N rate (41.3% to 39.0%). Alliin concentrations varied from 8.3 to 13.8 mg/g DW for 110% and 130% Eto irrigation treatments. Alliin concentrations were not affected by N fertilization (average = 11.5 mg/g DW). Fructan concentrations were affected by N fertilization treatment, with the highest content (802 mg/g DW) associated with the lowest N level, and the lowest (717 mg/g DW) content in samples from the highest N rate. Sucrose concentrations increased with increased N, but glucose and fructose concentrations did not vary with N fertilization. Fructan as percent of total carbohydrate remained constant across irrigation treatments (96.6% + 0.2%) and across N fertilization treatments (96.6% + 0.3%).

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Trials were conducted in California to evaluate techniques to extend post-harvest life of Western shipper-type muskmelon cultivars (Cusumis melo L.). The use of .025 mm polyethylene bags, either as individual melon wraps or as liners for 18 kg commercial cartons, minimized water loss and associated softening of the fruit. A three minute dip in 58-60°C water effectively checked surface mold and decay. The combination of hot water dip and polyethylene carton liner maintained high quality marketable fruit for at least 30 days of cold storage at 2-4°C. This technique would require only modest changes in commercial handling practices, with minimal additional per carton cost. Commercial utilization of this technique could stimulate the export of California muskmelons to Pacific Rim countries.

Free access

Abstract

The changes in ethylene production rates and development of 1-aminocyclopropane-l-carboxylic acid (ACC) synthase and polygalacturonase (PG) activities were studied during the maturation and ripening of tomato fruit (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill, cv. ‘Castlemart’). There was a linear relationship between internal ethylene concentration and ethylene production rate; both increased exponentially as tomato fruit reached more advanced maturity and ripening. Thus, both of them correlate with the maturity and the ripening stages of tomatoes. A small increase in ACC synthase activity was observed at the early mature green stages which was followed by a marked increase at the breaker stage. ACC level followed the same pattern as ACC synthase activity. PG activity was undetectable or low throughout the mature green stages, but increased significantly after reaching the breaker stage. These data indicate that the onset of the development of ACC synthase activity precedes that of PG activity.

Open Access