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Randolph Beaudry, Paul Armstrong and Galen Brown

Elasticity, internal C2H4, CO2, and O2, diameter, firmness, and starch index were determined for ripening `McIntosh', `Red Delicious' and `Golden Delicious' apple fruit. Elasticity, measured by the acoustic impulse response of the apple, has previously been found to correlate with fruit firmness after harvest (Armstrong and Brown, 1992) and was studied as a possible index of apple harvest maturity because it is a rapid, non-destructive measurement that could be adapted for field use. However, elasticity did not correlate with firmness or other maturity parameters for fruit attached to the tree. Fruit temperature influenced internal gas levels, probably due to its effect on metabolic activity. An increase in the temperature-compensated internal CO2 level occurred for fruit having an elevated internal C2H4 concentration (> 0.02 μl/L), which suggested that the climacteric respiratory increase associated with ripening occurred while fruit were attached to the tree.

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Jun Song, Weimin Deng, Randolph M. Beaudry and Paul R. Armstrong

Trends in chlorophyll fluorescence for `Starking Delicious', `Golden Delicious' and `Law Rome' apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) fruit were examined during the harvest season, during refrigerated-air (RA) storage at 0 °C, following RA and controlled-atmosphere (CA) storage, and during a poststorage holding period at 22 °C. Fluorescence parameters of minimal fluorescence (Fo), maximal fluorescence (Fm), and quantum yield [(Fm-Fo)/Fm, otherwise denoted as Fv/Fm] were measured. During `Starking Delicious' fruit maturation and ripening, Fv/Fm declined with time, with the rate of decline increasing after the ethylene climacteric. During RA storage, all fluorescence parameters remained constant for approximately 2 weeks, then steadily declined with time for `Starking Delicious' fruit. Superficial scald was detected after Fv/Fm had declined from an initial value of 0.78 to ≈0.7. Fv/Fm was consistently higher for CA-stored fruits than for RA-stored fruits. We were able to resegregate combined populations of “high-quality” (CA) and “low-quality” (RA) `Law Rome' fruit with 75% accuracy using a threshold Fv/Fm value of 0.685, with only 5% RA-stored fruit incorrectly identified as being of high quality. During a poststorage holding period, Fo, Fm, and Fv/Fm correlated well with firmness for `Starking Delicious', but not for `Golden Delicious' fruit, which were already soft. Fo and Fm were linearly correlated with hue angle for 'Golden Delicious' fruit, decreasing as yellowness increased. The accuracy, speed of assessment, and light-based nature of fluorescence suggests that it may have some practical use as a criterion to assist in sorting apple or other chlorophyll-containing fruit or vegetables on commercial packing lines.