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G. Andrich, R. Fiorentini, A. Tuci, A. Zinnai, and G. Sommovigo

Using mathematical equations that describe the 02 mass-transfer and the enzymatic oxidation of the organic substrates of apples (Malus domestica Borkh.), we developed a kinetic model to correlate fruit respiration rate with environmental oxygen partial pressure (PO2. The kinetic determinations were carried out at room temperature using apples stored at 3 to 4C for 11 to 19 weeks. Results show that: 1) the calculated value of the Michaelis-Menten constant related to the enzymatic oxidation of the respiratory substrate (Km = 2.1 ± 0.5.10-5 mol·kg-1) is close to that reported in the literature for cytochrome-c oxidase; 2) the located range of PO2 levels where 02 becomes the limiting factor in the respiration process (near 2.6 kPa at T = 20.5 ± lC) is close to those usually used on a commercial scale for controlled atmosphere storage.