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Muharrem Ergun, Steven A. Sargent, and Donald J. Huber

Grape tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. `Santa') harvested at light-red (>90% color) and full-red stages were treated with 1 μL·L–1 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) for 24 hours at 20 °C and stored at 20 °C. After 1 day of storage, fruit harvested at light-red stage treated with 1-MCP had a 56% lower respiration rate than untreated fruit. By day 7, respiration rates of the two treatments had converged at about 2 mL·kg–1·h–1. Ethylene production of light-red stage tomatoes treated with 1-MPC was 24% lower than untreated during storage, with rates converging by day 11. For fruit harvested full-red, 1-MCP had similar effects on respiration and ethylene production, although convergence occurred earlier, by day 5. Subsequent tests were conducted only with fruit harvested at full-red stage, since fruit harvested at the light-red stage had lower soluble solids content (4.3%) than fruit harvested at the full-red stage (5.5%). Several combinations of 1-MCP concentrations and exposure times were applied at 20 °C: 1 μL·L–1 for 24 h, 5 μL·L–1 for 6 or 12 h, 25 μL·L–1 for 6 or 12 h, and 50 μL·L–1 for 6 or 12 h; following the respective pretreatment fruits were stored at 20 °C. 1-MCP pretreatment extended marketable life by 1 d, irrespective of pretreatment regime, where untreated and pretreated fruit remained marketable (<15% of fruit soft, decayed and/or shriveled) for 6 and 7 d, respectively. However, 1-MCP did not affect whole fruit firmness, epidermal color, internal color, soluble solids content (6.5%), total titratable acidity (0.64%), or pH (4.3). In a third test simulating commercial handling procedures, full-red harvested tomatoes were treated with 1 μL·L–1 1-MCP for 24 h at either 13 or 20 °C, stored for 4 d at 13 °C, and then transferred to 20 °C. Under these conditions, marketable life for untreated and 1-MCP-treated tomatoes was 7 and 8 d, respectively.

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Muharrem Ergun, Jiwon Jeong, Donald J. Huber, and Daniel J. Cantliffe

`Galia' (Cucumis melo var. reticulatus L. Naud. `Galia') melons exhibit relatively short postharvest longevity, limited in large part by the rapid softening of this high quality melon. The present study was performed to characterize the physiological responses of `Galia' fruit harvested at green (preripe) and yellow (advanced ripening) stages and treated with 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) before storage at 20 °C. Treatment with 1.5 μL·L-1 1-MCP before storage delayed the climacteric peaks of respiration and ethylene production of green fruit by 11 and 6 d, respectively, and also significantly suppressed respiration and ethylene production maxima. Softening of both green and yellow fruit was significantly delayed by 1-MCP. During the first 5 d at 20 °C, the firmness of green control fruit declined 66% while 1-MCP-treated fruit declined 46%. By day 11, firmness of control and 1-MCP-treated green fruit had declined about 90% and 75%, respectively. The firmness of control yellow fruit stored at 20 °C declined 70% within 5 d while 1-MCP-treated fruit declined 30%. The 1-MCP-induced firmness retention was accompanied by significant suppression of electrolyte leakage of mesocarp tissue, providing evidence that membrane dysfunction might contribute to softening of `Galia' melons. The mesocarp of fruit harvested green and treated with 1-MCP eventually ripened to acceptable quality; however, under the treatment conditions (1.5 μL·L-1 1-MCP, 24 h) used in this study, irreversible suppression of surface color development was noted. The disparity in ripening recovery between mesocarp versus epidermal tissue was considerably less evident for fruit harvested and treated with 1-MCP at an advanced stage of development. The commercial use of 1-MCP with `Galia'-type melons should prove of immense benefit in long-term storage and/or export situations, and allow for retention of quality and handling tolerance for fruit harvested at more advanced stages of ripening.

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Muharrem Ergun, Donald J. Huber, Jiwon Jeong, and Jerry A. Bartz

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of ethylene action, via use of the ethylene antagonist 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP), on the senescence and quality of fresh-cut ripe papaya (Carica papaya L. `Sunrise Solo') fruit. Ripe papaya fruit were treated with 2.5 μL·L-1 1-MCP and immediately processed into fresh-cut slices or left intact. At 2-day intervals over 10 days at 5 °C, continuously stored slices were monitored for ethylene production, firmness, electrolyte leakage, color, sensory changes, and pathogen incidence. Slices freshly prepared from intact fruit stored under identical conditions were measured similarly. Ethylene production did not differ significantly between the treatments, although production rates were slightly but consistently higher in slices from intact control compared with intact 1-MCP-treated fruit. Mesocarp firmness of continuously stored slices and slices from fruit stored intact was significantly retained by 1-MCP. Firmness of continuously stored slices from 1-MCP-treated fruit declined 50% compared with 75% for control slices. Firmness of fresh-cut slices prepared from intact control and 1-MCP-treated fruit at each sampling interval declined 26% and 15%, respectively. Electrolyte leakage remained low and changed little in slices freshly prepared from fruit stored intact. Leakage from continuously stored papaya slices increased after 4 days, and after 6 days controls increased significantly compared with stored slices derived from papaya fruit initially treated with the ethylene antagonist. The flesh color of continuously stored slices or slices prepared from fruit stored intact was influenced by 1-MCP only during the later periods of storage. Microbial counts in stored slices or slices prepared at each sampling were generally unaffected by 1-MCP. Informal sensory analysis indicated that the edible shelf life was 6 days in stored slices from 1-MCP-treated fruit compared with 2 to 3 days for stored slices from control fruit.

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Muharrem Ergun, Ellen T. Paparozzi, Dermot P. Coyne, Durward Smith, Stephen Kachman, and David S. Nuland

Seedcoat color is an important trait, as it affects marketing and consumer acceptance of pinto beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Pinto breeding line NE 94-4 showed seedcoat yellowing in on-farm field trials in Nebraska in 1996 and 1997. Hail, sprinkler irrigation, and fall rainfall appeared to be involved in increasing seedcoat yellowing, based on analysis of field and weather data of on-farm trial sites. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of moisture on seedcoat yellowing of pinto line NE 94-4 (susceptible) and pinto `UI-114' (highly resistant). Two greenhouse experiments were conducted involving misting of bean plants near maturity and injecting water into maturing bean pods. Another experiment evaluated the response of seeds of these two bean entries to moisture by placing them on moist filter paper in petri dishes in the laboratory. Results showed that both genotype and moisture content are involved in seedcoat yellowing. This simple, cheap, and effective filter paper test was then used to evaluate seedcoat yellowing of nine pinto genotypes in response to moisture. Pinto NE 94-4 and `Kodiak' showed the greatest change, while `Bill Z' showed the least change, in seedcoat color.