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  • Author or Editor: Maurizio Mulas x
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Freshly harvested `Fortune' mandarins (Citrus reticulata Blanco) were dipped for 3 minutes in 25 or 52C water and then stored for 5 weeks at 2C. Then, the fruit were or were not intermittently warmed at 10C for 3 days after each 4-day storage period. All fruit then were held at 20C for 1 week to simulate retail marketing. Chilling injury was more severe in fruit dipped in 25C water and stored at 2C than in fruit dipped in 25C water and stored under intermittent warming. The hot dip treatment significantly reduced the extent of damage during storage and the subsequent 1 week of holding at 20C. The hot dip treatment reduced the incidence of fungal decay, especially during holding at 20C. Dip temperature and storage conditions slightly affected fruit physiological and quality characteristics. We conclude that prestorage hot dip treatments can be used to improve `Fortune' mandarin storing qualities. Also, this practice may be combined with intermittent warming during cold storage, and it could help limit fungicide use in postharvest treatments.

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Leaves of five myrtle cultivars were analyzed for chlorophyll a and b, polyphenol, and tannin contents in two years (2000 and 2001), two seasons (spring and winter), and two growing areas (Alghero and Oristano, Sardinia, Italy). The hydroalcoholic leaf infusions obtained from the same cultivars were analyzed for the above-mentioned compounds and for their chromatic values as well. L* chromatic component ranged from 44.22 to 49.94, a* values ranged between −5.82 and −2.50, and b* values ranged between 10.74 and 18.40. The relationships between leaf and infusion characteristics were evaluated. Chlorophyll a content ranged from 1.9 to 4.7 mg·g−1 of dry weight in leaves and from 14.8 to 35.2 mg·L−1 in infusions. Chlorophyll b ranged between 0.3 and 2.9 mg·g−1 of dry weight in leaves and between 3.4 to 12.1 mg·L−1 in infusions. Polyphenols ranged between 6.8 and 15.3 g/100 g of dry weight in leaves and between 2.6 and 13.9 g·L−1 in hydroalcoholic infusions. Tannins ranged from 140 to 516 mg·g−1 of dry weight in leaves and from 57 to 291 mg·L−1 in infusions. Significant interactions among year, growing area, season, and cultivar effects occurred for all leaf and infusion parameters, except for leaf chlorophyll a. Strong correlations between leaf and infusion composition were not found. Because infusion quality was little influenced by the studied variables, to the best of our knowledge, winter harvest of myrtle leaves for white myrtle liqueur is feasible.

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Myrtle is an aromatic plant typical of the Mediterranean maquis. It is widely exploited in pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food industries, whereas in Italy, it is mainly used for the production of the typical liqueur. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers were used to evaluate the genetic variability of some Sardinian Myrtus communis L. candidate cultivars. The AFLP selective amplification produced 138 reproducible AFLP fragments, 96% of which were polymorphic. STRUCTURE analysis divided the myrtle accessions into two main genetic groups (K = 2). The two clusters showed different numbers of individuals. Most of the individuals belonged to Cluster B, whereas only eight genotypes were attributed to Cluster A. Unweighted pair group method with Arithmetic Mean (UPGMA) dendrogram segregated all the myrtle cultivars into five main groups, displaying a partial congruence with the division observed by STRUCTURE analysis. The analysis of the genetic diversity distribution in a candidate cultivar selection displayed a geographical gradient of myrtle from north to south, which reflects the Sardinian shape, and from west to east, which reflects the Sardinian mountain distribution.

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In 1968, the CRA-Research Center for Citriculture and Mediterranean Crops (CRA-ACM) started a research program aimed at breeding citrus rootstocks. The monoembryonic species C. latipes (Swing.) Tan. was used as the female parent; trifoliate orange [Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.], sour orange, and volkamer lemon (C. volkameriana Pasq.) were used as male parents. The behavior of some of these hybrids tested with other standard rootstocks in Sicily and Sardinia was evaluated. The cultivars under comparison included ‘Washington’ navel orange and ‘SRA 92’ clementine in Sardinia and ‘Tarocco’ orange in Sicily. Our results showed the dramatic influence of rootstock on plant growth and yield; only minor effects on fruit quality were observed. Among the standard rootstocks tested, Swingle citrumelo provided the highest yield. Some of the tested hybrids (F5 P12, F6 P12, and F6 P13) may improve plant yield, thus maintaining good fruit quality. Encouraging data obtained with these hybrids may justify the use of monoembryonic species of the Papeda subgenus for breeding citrus rootstocks.

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