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  • Author or Editor: Max Ossenbrink x
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When mature sweet cherries (Prunus avium L.) came into contact with sweet cherry juice, cracking dramatically increased. The objectives of our study were: 1) to quantify the cracking of fruit in cherry juice, 2) to determine which constituent(s) of the juice especially promote cracking and, 3) to establish its/their mode of action in promoting cracking. Artificial juice was made up as an aqueous solution of the same five pure chemicals and at the same relative concentrations as the five major osmolytes of real sweet cherry juice. Artificial and real juice was used at half-isotonic concentrations as the real juice from that batch of fruit. Cracking of sweet cherries placed in either artificial or real juice was more rapid and occurred for lower net water uptakes than of fruit placed in half-isotonic polyethylene glycol 6000. The crack-promoting component in sweet cherry juice was malic acid. Further tests with malic acid, and other organic acids, and with different concentrations of malic acid, with and without pH control, and with the enantiomers of malic acid, showed the effects were primarily related to the pH of the incubation solution. Leakage of anthocyanin from discs of flesh was increased in the presence of malic acid and greater in hypotonic than hypertonic solutions, suggesting that malic acid increases the permeability of the plasma membrane and tonoplast and weakens the cell walls. Malic acid may be an important link (amplifier) in a reaction chain that begins with the bursting of individual epidermal cells and ends with the formation of macroscopic skin cracks.

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