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James M. Wargo, Ian A. Merwin, and Christopher B. Watkins

`Jonagold' apples [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] often fail to develop adequate red coloration at maturity and become soft and greasy in storage. During two growing seasons, we tested factorial combinations of three preharvest treatments affecting `Jonagold' quality at harvest and after storage: 1) three nitrogen (N) treatments [36 kg·ha-1 soil applied N, 6.9 kg·ha-1 of urea-N (1% w/v) in foliar sprays mid-May and June, or no N fertilizers]; 2) trunk girdling in early August each year; and 3) foliar applications of aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG, formulated as ReTain) 3 weeks before the first scheduled harvest. Fruit were sampled at four weekly intervals each year and evaluated for maturity and quality at harvest and after storage. Foliar urea and soil-applied N delayed red color development in 1998 but not 1999, increased fruit size in girdled and nonAVG treated trees in both years, and increased greasiness in 1999 only. AVG reduced fruit greasiness after storage both years. Nitrogen uptake was reduced in the dry Summer 1999, but N treatments still increased poststorage flesh breakdown. Mid-summer trunk girdling increased red coloration and intensity both years and improved market-grade packout. This effect was not caused by advanced maturity, although trunk girdling slightly increased skin greasiness. Girdling reduced fruit size only on trees of low N status. The AVG applications delayed maturity and red color development by 7 to 10 days in both years compared with untreated fruit. In 1998, the combination of AVG and N fertilization delayed red color development more than either treatment alone. Fruit softening and greasiness were reduced in AVG-treated fruit harvested at the same time as untreated fruit, but this effect was not observed when AVG treated fruit were harvested at comparable maturity 7 to 10 days later. Trunk girdling and withholding N fertilizer were the best treatments for enhancing red coloration, and foliar N concentrations of ≈2.0% (W/W) resulted in better packouts compared with higher leaf N levels. AVG was an effective tool for delaying fruit maturity and maintaining fruit quality awaiting harvest, but not for improving red coloration of `Jonagold' apples.

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James M. Wargo, Ian A. Merwin, and Christopher B. Watkins

`GoldRush' is a new scab (Venturia inaequalis) resistant apple (Malus ×domestica) with excellent flavor and storage qualities that tends to produce small and russeted fruit. We investigated the effects of rate, timing, and method of nitrogen (N) fertilizers on `GoldRush' fruit size and quality during 1998-99. Fertilizer treatments were 1) no N fertilizer (control); 2) a low N rate of 45 kg·ha-1 (40.1 lb/acre) applied in April (LN-Apr); 3) a low N rate of 45 kg·ha-1 applied half in April and half in June (LN-Apr+Jun); 4) a high N rate of 90 kg·ha-1 (80.3 lb/acre) split in April and June (HN-Apr+Jun); 5) a high N rate of 90 kg·ha-1 applied in April, May, June, and July at 22.5 kg·ha-1 (20 lb/acre) each month (HN-Apr+May+Jun+Jul); and 6) canopy sprays of 1% (wt/wt) urea-N, equivalent to 7 kg·ha-1 (6.2 lb/acre) applied monthly in May, June, July, and August (foliar urea). In 1998, an additional foliar urea spray at 5% (wt/wt) concentration was applied to trees after harvest. The first year's Ntreatments did not affect relative average fruit weights or total yields, but unfertilized trees produced more fruit in smaller size categories. Nitrogen fertilization resulted in greener and softer fruit both years. In the second year, all N additions increased yields compared with controls, but average fruit weight was inversely correlated with crop load. Foliar urea sprays and HN-Apr+May+Jun+Jul treatments increased yields the most. Fruit from LN-fertilized trees were normally distributed across a range of eight box-count size categories, peaking at size 100 both years. In the unfertilized control, fruit size was skewed into smaller size categories and yield was reduced. Total yields were greatest in foliar urea and HN-Apr+May+Jun+Jul treatments, but fruit-size distribution was skewed into smaller categories, peaking at size 138 in the second year. Foliar urea and HN-Apr+May+Jun+Jul treatments produced the highest crop value, but when estimated labor and fertilizer costs were considered, foliar urea and LN-Apr+Jun were the most efficient treatments. Nitrogen fertilizer improved fruit size and market value, but average fruit size in all treatments remained relatively small in both years, indicating that N fertilization alone may not increase fruit size in `GoldRush.'

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J.D. Hansen, M.A. Watkins, M.L. Heidt, and P.A. Anderson

Codling moth [Cydia pomonella (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)], found in exported apples (Malus sylvestris), can disrupt international markets. Cold storage at 1.1 °C was examined for possible control of three physiological larval states in ‘Fuji’ apples: diapausing (overwintering), diapause-destined, and nondiapausing. All nondiapausing larvae were dead within 12 weeks, diapaused-destined larvae were controlled by the seventh week, yet more than half of the original populations of diapausing larvae were still alive after 11 weeks. Because the diapaused-destined larvae were younger than the nondiapausing larvae, they may have been more susceptible to cold. Because larvae normally diapause outside the fruit, cold storage would not be applicable for controlling larvae in this state.

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J.D. Hansen, M.L. Heidt, M.A. Watkins, S.R. Drake, J. Tang, and S. Wang

Quarantine regulations require domestic sweet cherries (Prunus avium) exported to Japan to be treated to control codling moth [Cydia pomonella (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)]. The current procedure, methyl bromide fumigation, may be discontinued because of health, safety, and environmental concerns. To examine a potential alternative method, `Bing' sweet cherries were each infested with a codling moth larva, submerged in a 38 °C water bath for 6 minutes pretreatment, then exposed to various temperatures generated by radio frequency and held at that temperature for different times: 50 °C for 6 minutes, 51.6 °C for 4 minutes, 53.3 °C for 0.5 minutes, and 54.4 °C for 0.5 minutes. Insect mortality was evaluated 24 hours after treatment and fruit quality was evaluated after treatment and after 7 and 14 days of storage at 1 °C. No larvae survived at the 50 and 51.6 °C treatments. Fruit color of non-infested cherries was darkened as temperature increased. Stem color was severely impacted after 7 days of storage, even in a warm water bath of 38 °C for 6 minutes, as was fruit firmness at the same treatment. Fruit quality loss increased after 14 days of storage, compared to after 7 days of storage. The amount of pitting and bruising of cherries increased with temperature and again this increase was more evident after 14 days of storage.

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J.D. Hansen, M.L. Heidt, M.A. Watkins, S.R. Drake, J. Tang, and S. Wang

Efficacy of using radio frequency (RF) at 27.12 MHz was evaluated as a postharvest quarantine treatment against fifth instars of the codling moth [Cydia pomonella (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)], in apples (Malus sylvestris). Tests under the given conditions demonstrated that the energy fields between the RF unit's electrodes were neither predictable nor uniform. Moving fruit submerged in water during RF exposure may improve uniformity, but pulp temperatures varied considerably among fruit, among sites on the same fruit, and at different depths within the same site. As a result of these inconsistencies, quarantine efficacy was not obtained either using a range of final average temperatures from 40 to 68 °C (104.0 to 154.4 °F) or at holding times up to 20 minutes. We concluded it would be difficult to obtain the appropriate parameters for treatment efficacy and fruit quality maintenance using this technology under these conditions.

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Gregory M. Peck, Ian A. Merwin, Christopher B. Watkins, Kathryn W. Chapman, and Olga I. Padilla-Zakour

Maturity and quality of fruit harvested from an orchard of disease-resistant ‘Liberty’ apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) trees was investigated during and after the transition from conventional to integrated (IFP) and organic fruit production (OFP) systems. Over 4 years, internal ethylene concentration, starch pattern index, flesh firmness, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), and percent of surface blush of fruit at harvest were not consistently different between fruit from IFP and OFP systems. Total phenolic content and antioxidant capacity of the fruit were also similar between treatments. IFP-grown fruit contained more potassium during the first 2 years and more calcium in all years than OFP-grown fruit. After fruit were stored in air at 0.5 °C for 9 weeks in 2007, OFP-grown apples were firmer and had higher SSC, TA, and SSC:TA ratios. In double-blind triangle taste tests, consumer panelists were able to discriminate between the fruit from each treatment, but in double-blind hedonic and intensity tests, panelists did not consistently rate one treatment more highly than the other. Overall, consumer panelists favorably rated internal quality of fruit grown under both IFP and OFP systems. In 2006, when weather and disease caused a high percentage of OFP-grown fruit to have cosmetic defects, the panelists rated the appearance of OFP-grown apples as less acceptable than the cleaner-looking IFP-grown apples. Our study of ‘Liberty’ apple fruit maturity and quality during a 4-year transition period from conventional to IFP and OFP systems showed that differences were small if present, whereas internal fruit quality was rarely different between systems.

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Christopher B. Watkins, Mustafa Erkan, Jacqueline F. Nock, Kevin A. Iungerman, Randolph M. Beaudry, and Renae E. Moran

`Honeycrisp' is a new apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] cultivar that has been planted extensively in North America, but the storage disorders soggy breakdown and soft scald have resulted in major fruit losses. The effects of harvest date and storage temperature on fruit quality and susceptibility of fruit to these disorders have been investigated in Michigan, New York, and Maine. Internal ethylene concentrations were variable over a wide range of harvest dates, and a rapid increase in autocatalytic ethylene production was not always apparent. The starch pattern index, soluble solids content, titratable acidity and firmness also appear to have limited use as harvest indices. Development of soggy breakdown and soft scald is associated with later harvest dates and storage of fruit at temperatures of 0 to 0.5 °C compared with higher storage temperatures. It is recommended that `Honeycrisp' be stored at 3 °C, although storage disorders still can occur at this temperature if fruit are harvested late. In addition, greasiness development may be worse at higher storage temperatures.

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Cindy B.S. Tong, David S. Bedford, James J. Luby, Faye M. Propsom, Randolph M. Beaudry, James P. Mattheis, Christopher B. Watkins, and Sarah A. Weis

The effects of growing and storage locations and storage temperature on soft scald incidence of `Honeycrisp' apples were examined. In 1999 and 2000, fruits were produced at five different locations, harvested at two different times, and stored at two or five different storage locations. In 1999, fruits were stored at 0 or 2 °C. Soft scald was only observed in fruits from one growing location and primarily at 0 °C. More soft scald was observed from the second harvest than from the first. Scalded fruits were preclimacteric as determined by ethylene production rate, whereas fruits from the other locations were postclimacteric. In 2000, fruits from four of the growing locations developed soft scald, and soft scald incidence was not related to ethylene production rate. Scalded fruits had higher concentrations of phosphorus, boron, and magnesium, and lower concentrations of manganese than unaffected fruit. Development of soft scald was not related to fruit ethylene production rates, was dependent on growing location, increased with later harvest, and may be related to fruit elemental content.