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A. Plotto, A. N. Azarenko, M. R. McDaniel and J.P. Mattheis

`Gala' apples were harvested at weekly intervals for 6 weeks, refrigerated at 0C, and evaluated by a consumer panel monthly over a 6 month period for overall liking, firmness, sweetness, tartness and flavor intensities. Firmness, titratable acidity and soluble solids concentration were also measured. Initial analysis of sensory data revealed multicollinearity for overall liking, sweetness, and flavor. The five descriptors explained 75 % of the dataset variation in the first two factors. An orthogonal rotation separated overall liking, flavor and sweetness, and firmness and tartness into two independent factors. The distribution of mean scores along these independent factors showed that panelists could perceive changes due to ripening and maturation. The multivariate factor analysis was better than univariate ANOVA at illustrating how apple maturity stages were apparent to untrained panelists. Firmness was the only instrumental variable correlated to firmness ratings in the sensory tests. None of the analytical measurements could explain overall liking.

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Monte L. Nesbitt, N.R. McDaniel, Robert C. Ebel, W.A. Dozier and David G. Himelrick

Several microsprinkler treatments were tested on 5-year-old satsuma mandarin orange (Citrus unshiu Marc.) trees to compare survivability of trunks and scaffold limbs in severe freezes. Three damaging freeze events occurred during winter, with two in 1995-96 and one in 1996-97. Air temperature dropped to -9.4, -5.6, and -6.7 °C, respectively. Almost 90% of the foliage was dead on the control plants after the first freezing event and 98% after the second. A single microsprinkler 1.6 m high in the canopy delivering 90.8 L·h-1 reduced injury; only 54% of the canopy was dead after the first freeze and 71% after the second. There was slightly more shoot-tip dieback on the plants in the microsprinkler treatments than on the control plants after the first two freezes. The amount of limb breakage by ice was minor. The third freeze killed 34% of the canopy in the control plants, but only 26% in the plants in the microsprinkler treatments. Use of microsprinklers increased yield in 1996, but yield for all treatments was very low. Yield for all treatments fully recovered in 1997, averaging 153 kg/tree. Although no death of scaffold limbs or trunks occurred, these results demonstrate that microsprinkler irrigation reduces damage to foliage and increases yield somewhat in severe freezes.

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Monte L. Nesbitt, N.R. McDaniel, Robert C. Ebel, W.A. Dozier and David G. Himelrick

Several microsprinkler treatments were tested on 5-year-old satsuma mandarin orange (Citrus unshiu Marc.) trees to compare survivability of trunks and scaffold limbs in severe freezes. Three damaging freeze events occurred during winter, with two in 1995–96 and one in 1996–97. Air temperature dropped to –9.4, –5.6, and –6.7 °C, respectively. Almost 90% of the foliage was dead on the control plants after the first freezing event and 98% after the second. A single microsprinkler 1.6 m high in the canopy delivering 90.8 L·h–1 reduced injury; only 54% of the canopy was dead after the first freeze and 71% after the second. There was slightly more shoot-tip dieback on the plants in the microsprinkler treatments than on the control plants after the first two freezes. The amount of limb breakage by ice was minor. The third freeze killed 34% of the canopy in the control plants, but only 26% in the plants in the microsprinkler treatments. Use of microsprinklers increased yield in 1996, but yield for all treatments was very low. Yield for all treatments fully recovered in 1997, averaging 153 kg/tree. Although no death of scaffold limbs or trunks occurred, these results demonstrate that microsprinkler irrigation reduces damage to foliage and increases yield somewhat in severe freezes.

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Anne Plotto, Anita N. Azarenko, Mina R. McDaniel, Patrick W. Crockett and James P. Mattheis

Eating quality of `Gala' and `Fuji' apples (Malus domestica Borkh.) from multiple harvests and storage durations was assessed using an untrained consumer panel. Apples were harvested at weekly intervals for 6 weeks and stored in air. Changes due to harvest maturity and storage for overall liking (OL), sweetness, tartness, firmness, and flavor intensity were evaluated over 8 months. A multivariate factor analysis revealed multicollinearity for OL, sweetness, and flavor intensity ratings in both cultivars. These attributes had the highest loadings in the first factor, explaining 51% and 52% of the variance of `Gala' and `Fuji' data sets, respectively, and were interpreted as a quality factor. Tartness and firmness had the highest loadings in the second factor for `Gala', explaining an additional 23% of the variability and reducing that cultivar's data set to two factors. For `Fuji', however, tartness and firmness were independent and included in factors 2 and 3, respectively. Factors 2 and 3 were interpreted as maturity factors, which explained 23% and 12% of the variance. The plots of the mean factor scores provided a multivariate technique to illustrate that panelists could differentiate between the stages of maturity of apples. Canonical correlations were calculated between the sensory and instrumental data. Only firmness measurements were correlated with sensory ratings for firmness (r = 0.53 and 0.44 for `Gala' and `Fuji', respectively).

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W.A. Dozier Jr., R. Rodriguez-Kabana, A.W. Caylor, D.G. Himelrick, N.R. McDaniel and J.A. McGuire

The yellow passionfruit (Passiflora edulis f flavicarpa Degener), a perennial vine grown in the tropics and subtropics, was successfully grown as an annual crop in a temperate zone. Fruit maturity was hastened by ethephon treatments to allow harvest before the mean date of the first killing frost. Maturity was advanced in a linear manner with application rates of 150, 300, and 600 ppm ethephon. Total yield was not affected by ethephon treatment; however, cull fruit producing no juice increased with increasing rates of ethephon, thereby reducing marketable yields. Soluble solids and ascorbic acid contents of the juice were not affected by ethephon treatment. Purple passionfruit (Passiflora edulis Sims) did not produce blossoms.

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W.A. Dozier Jr., A.A. Powell, A.W. Caylor, N.R. McDaniel, E.L. Carden and J.A. McGuire

Hydrogen cyanamide (Dormex) treatments were applied to 17 insufficiently chilled peach and nectarine cultivars ≈6 weeks after normal budbreak. Treatment effectively induced vegetative budbreak and reduced shoot dieback. The responses to Dormex treatments were linear, with the 2% rate being more effective than the 0 and 1% rates in most cases.

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R.C. Ebel, W.A. Dozier Jr., M.L. Nesbitt, N.R. McDaniel, A.A. Powell, A. W. Caylor and W.R. Okie

There are a limited number of peach and nectarine cultivars available with chilling requirements that perform well in the Gulf Coast area of Alabama. A test planting of 40 peach and 13 nectarine cultivars was established in 1985 at the Gulf Coast Substation at Fairhope, Ala. The plot was prepared and trees grown according to commercial procedures. Blocks of four trees of each cultivar were planted on a 6 x 6-m spacing. Chill hours were calculated each year based on number of hours at or below 7.3 °C; starting from and including the first 10 consecutive days a total of 50 hours were accumulated to 15 Feb. Data collected included date of full bloom, first harvest date, and total yield. Fruit were measured or rated for skin color, attractiveness, firmness, stone freeness, pubescence, flesh color, dessert quality, shape, weight, percentage with split pits, and occurrence of malformed sutures and extended tips. All cultivars were evaluated for 9 years (1987–95). The best performing varieties are discussed.