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Charles F. Forney and Michael A. Jordan

Fresh fruits and vegetables produce ethanol when they are held in atmospheres containing low concentrations of oxygen. Ethanol concentrations in the headspace of fresh Brassica vegetables held 24 hours in nitrogen at 20°C ranged from 5 to 110 mmol·m–3. The absence of oxygen induced anaerobic respiration and the production of ethanol in these vegetables. However, other stresses, including heat and high concentrations of carbon dioxide, can also stimulate the production of ethanol in fresh fruits and vegetables held in aerobic atmospheres. Fresh heads of broccoli dipped in 52°C water had increased concentrations of headspace ethanol 2 hours after treatment when held at 20°C in air. Concentrations were 6, 160, and 490 times greater in broccoli treated for 1, 2, or 3 minutes than in nontreated controls, respectively. Fruit of three highbush blueberry cultivars held in 25% carbon dioxide for 6 weeks at 0°C had 80 to 190 times more ethanol than fruit held in air. The 25% carbon dioxide atmosphere also induced blueberries to soften and develop off-flavors. Ethanol may be a fast and easy-to-measure indicator of physiological stress in stored fresh fruits and vegetables. Monitoring induced ethanol production could identify injurious storage environments or postharvest treatments. Possible mechanisms of stress-induced ethanol production will be discussed.

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Charles F. Forney and Michael A. Jordan

Heat can induce physiological changes in plant tissues, including the inhibition of broccoli senescence. Hot water treatments at 52C for 3 or more minutes may induce off-odors in fresh broccoli. The objective of this study was to identify heat-induced volatiles that may indicate physiological injury and/or be responsible for off-odors. Heads of fresh broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. Italica group cv. `Paragon') were immersed in water at 25C for 10 min (control); 45C for 10, 15, or 20 min; or 52C for 1, 2, or 3 min. Following treatment broccoli was held at 20C in the dark. Volatiles in the headspace above treated broccoli were trapped on Tenax-GR 2, 24, and 72 h after treatment and analyzed on a GC-MS. Heat treatments increased the production of ethanol, dimethyl disulfide (DMDS), dimethyl sulfide (DMS), dimethyl trisulfide (DMTS), hexenol, methyl thiocyanate, and several other unidentified compounds. Two hours after treatment, ethanol and hexenol concentrations in the headspace of all heat-treated broccoli were greater than those of the 25C/10 min controls. In the 52C/3 min-treated broccoli, headspace concentrations of ethanol, hexenol, DMDS, and methyl thiocyanate were 600-, 42-, 4-, and 4-fold greater than those of controls. After 72 h at 20C, concentrations of DMDS, DMS, and DMTS in broccoli from all six heat treatments were 10- to 200- fold, 8- to 35-fold, and 1.5- to 23- fold greater than those of controls, respectively. Concentrations of ethanol and methyl thiocyanate did not change relative to the controls during the additional 70 h at 20C. Concentrations of hexenol decreased in heat-treated broccoli during this time. The relationship of these volatiles to physiological changes and off-odor development in treated broccoli will be discussed.

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Charles F. Forney and Michael A. Jordan

Methanethiol (MT) is a volatile compound responsible for the unpleasant odor evolved when fresh broccoli (Brassica oleracea L., Italica group) is held under anaerobic conditions. Inductive atmospheres can develop in storage, transportation containers, or modified atmosphere packages, resulting in reduced quality. To determine if related vegetables are capable of producing MT, 12 different vegetables from the genus Brassica were cut into ready-to-eat forms. Fifty-gram samples were sealed in 500-mL glass jars and flushed with N2. After 24 h in the dark at 20 °C, headspace samples from the jars were analyzed for MT and other volatiles. Headspace concentration of MT was greatest in broccoli florets, followed by pak choi (Brassica rapa L., Chinensis group) leaf blades, savoy cabbage (Brassica oleracea L., Capitata group), broccoflower (Brassica oleracea L., Botrytis group), and green and red cabbage (Brassica oleracea L., Capitata group). Broccoli stems, kale (Brassica oleracea L., Acephala group), Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea L., Gemmifera group), pak choi petioles, rutabaga (Brassica napus L., Napobrassica group) root, cauliflower (Brassica oleracea L., Botrytis group) florets, Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa L., Pekinensis group), and kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea L., Gongylodes group) tubers produced <3% of the MT produced by broccoli florets. Green tissues appeared to have a greater capacity to produce MT than nongreen tissues. Anaerobic production of CO2 and ethanol did not relate to the vegetable's ability to produce MT. The production of dimethyl disulfide (DMDS) and dimethyl trisulfide (DMTS) were also induced by the anaerobic conditions. Green cabbage produced the greatest concentration of DMDS, followed by savoy cabbage and broccoli florets. Production of DMTS was similar to the pattern observed for MT, but DMDS production was not highly correlated with MT production.

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Charles F. Forney and Michael A. Jordan

Methanethiol (MT) is a volatile compound responsible for the strong off-odor that is evolved when fresh broccoli is held under anaerobic atmospheres. Inductive atmospheres can develop in modified-atmosphere packages, resulting in reduced quality. To determine if related vegetables are capable of producing MT, 12 different vegetables from the genus Brassica were cut into ready-to-eat forms. Fifty-gram samples of these cut vegetables were sealed in 500-ml glass jars and flushed with N2. After flushing, jars were held for 24 h at 20C in the dark. Headspace samples from the jars then were analyzed for MT and other volatiles using a GC-MS> The concentration of MT was greatest in jars containing broccoli florets. Broccoli flower buds removed from florets produced 40 times more MT than peduncle and stem tissues (38.3 vs. 0.87 mmol·m–3). Headspace concentration of MT (mmol·m–3) in jars containing these different vegetables was: broccoli florets, 22.7; pak choi leaf blades, 17.8; savoy cabbage, 12.4; broccoflower, 7.5; green storage cabbage, 5.2; red cabbage, 2.7; kale, 0.81; Brussels sprouts, 0.36; pak choi petioles, 0.28; rutabaga root, 0.26; cauliflower florets, 0.18; Chinese cabbage, 0.03; and kohlrabi tubers, 0.02. In addition to MT, ethanol, dimethyl disulfide, and dimethyl trisulfide were detected in the headspace over each of the 12 vegetables. The contribution of these induced compounds to off-odor development in packaged, precut vegetables will be discussed.

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Charles F. Forney and Michael A. Jordan

`Annapolis', `Cavendish', `Honeoye', `Kent', and `Micmac' strawberry fruit (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) were harvested underripe (75% to 90% red) or fully ripe. Fruit were stored at 0C for 5 days followed by 2 days at 15C. Volatiles were trapped onto Tenax-GR from the headspace over fruit before and after storage and analyzed using GC-MS. Volatile esters identified in headspace included methyl and ethyl butanoate, methyl and ethyl hexanoate, methyl and ethyl 3-methylbutanoate, 3-methylbutyl acetate, hexyl acetate, and methyl 2-methylbutanoate. Headspace concentrations of volatile esters over freshly harvested strawberries averaged 1.3 and 6.8 μmol·m–3 for underripe and ripe fruit, respectively. After 7 days of storage, volatile concentrations increased in both underripe and ripe fruit to 6.3 and 12.2 μmol·m–3, respectively. There were quantitative and qualitative differences between cultivars. Total volatile concentrations were 16.0, 8.1, 5.7, 2.4, and 0.9 μmol·m–3 in the headspace over `Annapolis', `Kent', `Micmac', `Cavendish', and `Honeoye', respectively. `Annapolis' had the highest concentrations of methyl and ethyl butanoate, while `Micmac' had the highest concentrations of methyl and ethyl hexanoate. Volatile concentrations at harvest increased 5.7, 1.9, 1.7, 1.4, and 1.3 times during storage in `Kent', `Annapolis', `Micmac', `Cavendish', and `Honeoye', respectively. Results indicate that strawberry fruit continue to produce aroma volatiles after harvest.

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Charles F. Forney*, Jun Song and Michael A. Jordan

Apple fruit are treatmented with diphenylamine (DPA) in the form of a postharvest dip to prevent the development of storage scald. However, DPA residues have been detected on apples not treated with DPA, which is problematic in markets where DPA residues are not acceptable. The objective of this study was to identify sources of DPA contamination and evaluate the effectiveness of ozone to reduce contamination. Concentrations of DPA in the atmosphere of commercial storage rooms was monitored during the storage season and the adsorption of DPA onto wood and plastic bin material, plastic bin liners, foam insulation, and apple fruit was assessed. DPA was sampled from headspace with solid phase micro extraction using 65 μm polyacrylate micro fibers and analyzed using GC-MS. The effectiveness of gaseous treatments of 300 and 800 ppb ozone to reduce DPA contamination on apple fruit and bin material was also determined. DPA was found to volatilize from treated apples and bins into the storage room air, where it was adsorbed onto storage room walls, bins, bin liners and other fruit. DPA was found in the atmosphere of storage rooms containing apples that were not treated with DPA. Wood and plastic bin material, bin liners, and foam insulation all had a high affinity for DPA and were determined to be potential sources of contamination. Ozone reacted with DPA and following gaseous ozone treatments, off-gassing of DPA from wood and plastic bin material and bin liners was reduced. However, ozone was not effective in removing all DPA in contaminated materials and was ineffective in removing DPA from contaminated apples. Due to the pervasive and persistent nature of DPA, fruit should be handled and stored in facilities where DPA is not used to prevent contamination of fruit.

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Jun Song, Lihua Fan, Charles F. Forney and Michael A. Jordan

Ethanol production and chlorophyll fluorescence were measured as signals of freezing and heat stress in apple fruit. `Cortland' and `Jonagold' apples were held at –8.5 °C for 0, 6, 12 or 24 h (freezing treatments), or at 46 °C for 0, 4, 8 or 12 h (heat treatments). Following treatments, fruit were stored at 0 °C and evaluated after 0, 1, 2, or 3 months. Following storage, fruit samples were kept for 12 h at 20 °C and then analyzed for ethanol production, chlorophyll fluorescence, and visible injury. Severity of flesh browning increased with increasing treatment time for both freezing and heat treatments. Freezing for 24 h and heating for 12 h caused severe flesh browning in both cultivars. Severity of heat-induced browning increased during storage. Increases in ethanol production were apparent 12 h following treatments and reflected the degree of stress-induced fruit injury. After 2 months of storage, ethanol concentrations peaked and were as much as 400-fold greater than that of controls. These stress treatments also reduced ethylene production and chlorophyll fluorescence. The degree of increase in stress-induced ethanol production and decrease in chlorophyll fluorescence correlated with stress-induced injury and could be used to predict the severity of injury that develops during storage. Other volatile production and their relationship to fruit stress will also be discussed.

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Michael A. Jordan, Kenneth McRae, Sherry Fillmore and Willy Renderos

Volatile compounds contribute to carrot (Daucus carota) flavor. However, effects of postharvest treatments on these compounds are not defined. To characterize treatment effects, fresh carrots (cv. Sunrise) were treated with 0 or 1.0 μL/L 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) at 10 °C for 16 h, then exposed to 0, 0.3, or 1.0 μL/L ozone (O3) at 10 °C for 1, 2, or 4 days, and subsequently stored at 0 °C for up to 24 weeks. Twelve terpenes were identified in the headspace over whole carrots, including dimethylstyrene (22.5%), alpha-pinene (19.1%), caryophyllene (15.8%), beta-pinene (9.1%), p-cymene (8.3%), limonene (7.7%), gamma-terpinene (6.7%), myrcene (4.7%), gamma-terpinolene (4.5%) camphene (1.0%), alpha-phellandrene (0.52%), and sabinene (0.03%). Most terpenes responded similarly to treatments and storage. Immediately after treatment with 1.0 μL/L O3 for 1, 2, or 4 days, total terpene concentrations were 45%, 85%, and 87% greater than concentrations in non-treated controls. Caryophyllene, beta-pinene, and sabinene did not increase in response to the O3 treatment unlike the other terpenes. 1-MCP reduced terpene concentrations by an average of 18%. O3 treatments also stimulated stress volatile production. Ethanol headspace concentrations were 8-, 21-, and 43-times greater than the nontreated controls immediately following treatments with 0.3 nL/L O3 for 4 days or 1.0 μL/L O3 for 2 or 4 days, respectively. However, after 8 weeks, no differences among treatments were observed. Hexanal production also was stimulated by all O3 treatments, being 2- to 11-times greater than controls immediately following treatment. 1-MCP reduced O3-stimulated ethanol and hexanal production by 23% and 8%, respectively.

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Charles F. Forney, Willy Kalt and Michael A. Jordan

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Jun Song, Lihua Fan, Charles F. Forney and Michael A. Jordan

Volatile emissions and chlorophyll fluorescence were investigated as potential signals of heat injury for apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] fruit. `McIntosh', `Cortland', `Jonagold', and `Northern Spy' apples were exposed to 46 °C for 0, 4, 8, or 12 hours (heat treatments). Following treatments, fruit were kept at 20 °C and evaluated after 1, 2, 4, or 7 days. Heat treatments induced volatile production including ethanol and ethyl acetate. The 8 and 12 hours heat treatments increased ethanol and ethyl acetate production in all four cultivars by as much as 170- and 11-fold, respectively, 1 day after treatments. Heat treatments also reduced ethylene production and chlorophyll fluorescence. Heat for 12 hours caused serious flesh browning. Among the cultivars investigated, `Northern Spy' and `McIntosh' were most susceptible to heat stress based on the degree of flesh browning. Correlation coefficients of heat stress induced ethanol emission and chlorophyll fluorescence with flesh browning were 0.82 and -0.66, respectively. The nondestructive measurements of ethanol emission and chlorophyll fluorescence have potential to identify stressed fruit with reduced quality or compromised storage life.