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N.H. Furness, A. Upadhyaya and M.K. Upadhyaya

Surface areas of differently shaped vegetables, namely beet (Beta vulgaris L.), cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), carrot (Daucus carota L.), and parsnip (Pastinaca sativa L.) were determined by Baugerod's (a linear) method, a shrink-wrap replica method, and image analysis. Values obtained using these methods did not differ significantly for carrots and beets. Surface area values obtained using image analysis were higher than those obtained by Baugerod's method for parsnips (by 23.5%), and higher than Baugerod's and shrink-wrap replica methods for cucumbers (by 11.3% and 12.6%, respectively). A method was considered reproducible if surface area values from five measurements on the same product did not differ significantly (P ≤ 0.05). Surface area values for an individual product varied in the range of 4.7% for Baugerod's method for parsnips, and 6.6% for the shrink wrap replica method for carrots. No significant variation was observed for any of the vegetables when repeated measurements were made using the image analysis method. Image analysis offers rapidity, lack of adverse effect on produce, and the ability to collect and analyze data simultaneously. However, in absence of the necessary equipment for image analysis, Baugerod's method may be used for a product symmetrical around its central axis, after comparing it with a more direct procedure (e.g., shrink-wrap replica method).

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M.K. Upadhyaya and N.H. Furness

Surface area of cucumbers, carrots, parsnips, and beets was determined using the following non-destructive methods: Baugerod's method, Baugerod's method with inclusion of a factor correcting for substitution of weight for volume in the formula, and a novel image analysis method. Accuracy of the methods was ascertained by comparison with a direct shrink-wrap replica method of surface area measurement. Vegetables ranged in shape from cylindrical (cucumber and carrot) to conical (parsnip and beet). No difference in accuracy among methods of surface area determination was detected for carrots or beets. Baugerod's method and the image analysis technique differed significantly from the direct shrink-wrap replica technique for surface area determination of parsnips and cucumbers, respectively. Inclusion of a correction factor in Baugerod's method did not increase the accuracy of this method for any of the vegetables. The precision and repeatability of each method was determined by repeated measures analysis. Baugerod's method lost precision and repeatability for the conically shaped vegetables. Conversely, the shrink-wrap replica method lost precision and repeatability for the cylindrically shaped vegetables. The image analysis technique was precise and highly repeatable over the range of vegetable shapes. The development of a rapid, accurate, and precise non-destructive method of surface area measurement using image analysis techniques will provide a useful tool in the physiological study of vegetable products. Applicability of such a method over a range of vegetable shapes will be of additional value.

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M.K. Upadhyaya, S.I. Shibairo and P.M.A. Toivonen

The replacement of postharvest moisture loss in carrots (cv. Caro-choice) by single and repeated recharging (i.e., rehydration in water) treatments, interaction between the duration of recharging and temperature during recharging, and the effects of these treatments on moisture loss during subsequent short-term storage were studied. Carrot weight gain increased with increase in the duration of single recharging treatments. Carrots that had lost 2.96% of their weight, during storage at 13°C and 35% relative humidity, regained as much as 2.45% of the weight during recharging for 12 h. Longer rechargings had little additional effect. Recharging at 13°C and 26°C was more effective at replacing water than at 0°C. The rate of moisture loss (%/day) during subsequent storage was not affected by recharging duration and the temperature. With repeated recharging (every 3.5 d), increase in recharging duration up to 9 h increased carrot weight gain. Most of the weight gain occurred following 0 to 7 d of storage. These treatments, however, did not affect the rate of moisture loss during subsequent storage. These results suggest that the beneficial effect of recharging on carrot quality is due to replacement of the lost moisture and not to a decrease in moisture loss during storage following recharging. It is suggested that recharging be explored as an option to improve the shelf life of carrots.

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S.I. Shibairo, M.K. Upadhyaya and P.M.A. Toivonen

The effect of potassium (K) nutrition on the shelf life of carrots was studied using a hydroponics system involving rockwool slabs as support. Carrots were grown for 192 days under greenhouse conditions and supplied with 0, 0.1, 1.0, 10, and 15 mm of K. Increase in K concentration in the nutrient medium decreased postharvest weight loss. Carrot weight and tissue K content increased and water potential, osmotic potential, and relative solute leakage decreased with increasing K concentration in the nutrient feed. Differences in postharvest weight loss were mainly associated to root weight and relative solute leakage. Root weight correlated negatively and relative solute leakage correlated positively to water loss. Water and osmotic potential also correlated to water loss, but not as strongly as root weight and relative solute leakage. These results suggest that K nutrition influences postharvest weight loss by influencing carrot size and membrane integrity. Effects on cell water and osmotic potential are also important in this regard but to a lesser extent.

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M.K Upadhyaya, S.I. Shibairo and P.M.A. Toivonen

To understand the relationship between preharvest water stress and postharvest weight loss, carrot cultivars Eagle and Paramount were grown in muck soil in 6-L pots (eight carrots per pot) in a greenhouse at the Univ. of British Columbia. The plants were watered to field capacity every second day for 4 months before receiving 100, 75, 50, and 25% field capacity water stress treatments, henceforth referred to as low, medium, high, and severe water stress, respectively. Postharvest weight loss of carrots was monitored at 13°C and 32% relative humidity. Carrot weight loss increased with duration of storage in all treatments. It was low in the low-water-stressed and high in severely water-stressed carrots for both cultivars. Root crown diameter, weight, water, and osmotic potential decreased, and specific surface area and relative solute leakage increased with increasing preharvest water stress. Water potential followed by relative solute leakage were the variables that affected weight loss the most. The results show that carrots adjust to water stress by lowering water and osmotic potential. Preharvest water stress lowers membrane integrity of carrot roots making them lose more moisture during storage.

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S.I. Shibairo, M.K. Upadhyaya and P.M.A. Toivonen

Studies were carried out to understand the effects of moisture loss on water potential and root deterioration in carrot (Daucus carota L. `Eagle') roots during short-term storage. The roots were stored at various temperatures and relative humidities (RH) to provide 0.7 (low), 3 (medium), and 9 mbars (high) of water vapor pressure deficit (WVPD). Carrots at high WVPD lost the most weight, followed by those at medium and lowest WVPD. Water potential and osmotic potential of the carrot tissue at high WVPD did not change significantly up to 6 days, but decreased thereafter. There was no change in water potential and osmotic potential for carrots at medium and low WVPD. A significant quadratic relationship (P = 0.05, r = –0.764) between water potential and carrot root weight loss was observed. Relative electrolyte leakage increased over time in carrots at the high WVPD. At medium WVPD, relative electrolyte leakage did not change up to 6 days, but increased significantly thereafter. Carrots at the low WVPD did not change in relative electrolyte leakage. Relative electrolyte leakage and weight loss correlated positively (P = 0.05, r = 0.789). The results suggest that water stress during short-term storage causes tissue deterioration that may further increase rate of moisture loss and hence reduce the shelf life of carrots.

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Solomon I. Shibairo, Mahesh K. Upadhyaya and Peter M.A. Toivonen

Replacing postharvest moisture loss in carrots (Daucus carota L., `Caro-choice') by single and repeated recharging (rehydration in water) treatments, interaction between the duration of recharging and temperature during recharging, and the effects of these treatments on moisture loss during subsequent short-term storage were studied. Carrot mass gain increased with increase in duration of single recharging treatments. Carrots that had lost 2.96% of their mass during storage at 13 °C and 35% relative humidity regained as much as 83% of the mass during recharging for 12 hours. Longer rechargings had little additional effect. Recharging at 13 °C and 26 °C was more effective at replacing water than at 0 °C. The rate of moisture loss (percent per day) during subsequent storage was not affected by recharging duration and temperature during recharging. With repeated recharging every 3.5 days, increase in recharging duration up to 9 hours increased carrot mass gain. Most of the mass gain occurred following 0 to 7 days of storage. These treatments, however, did not affect the rate of moisture loss during subsequent storage. These results suggest that the beneficial effect of recharging on carrot quality is due to replacement of the lost moisture and not to a decrease in moisture loss during storage following recharging. Abrading increased mass loss in non-recharged carrots and increased mass gain during recharging. Recharging should be explored as an option to improve the shelf life of carrots.