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Max G. Villalobos-Acuña, William V. Biasi, Sylvia Flores, Elizabeth J. Mitcham, Rachel B. Elkins and Neil H. Willits

Preharvest applications of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) were tested on California ‘Bartlett’ pears at 80 N maturity and at rates of 0, 28, and 56 mg·L−1 in 2006 and 0, 50, and 100 mg·L−1 in 2007. In 2007, a parallel experiment was conducted to compare 50 mg·L−1 1-MCP with 96 g a.i./ha 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) used commercially to control or decrease premature fruit drop. Premature fruit drop, maturity, firmness at harvest, color, softening, and ethylene production during ripening and physiological disorders were studied in fruit harvested between 7 and 21 days after 1-MCP application and either ripened at 20 °C immediately after harvest or after 3.5 to 6 months storage at –1 °C. Overall, 50 mg·L−1 1-MCP reduced the incidence of premature fruit drop when compared with the untreated fruit and fruit drop was similar to adjuvant-treated fruit and NAA-treated fruit, especially 28 days or longer after the treatment. 1-MCP was more effective in retarding color, softening, and ethylene production during ripening than delaying fruit maturation on the tree (loss of firmness), and both rates of 1-MCP tested each season yielded similar fruit responses on most evaluation times. 1-MCP's effect on ripening was lost if fruit remained on the tree 21 days or after the fruit were stored for 3.5 months in cold storage regardless of treatment concentration. A reduction of internal breakdown incidence was observed in 1-MCP-treated fruit.