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Jude W. Grosser*, J.L. Chandler, and R.M. Goodrich

Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis L. Osbeck) is the most horticulturally important and widely grown Citrus species in Florida and worldwide, and `Valencia' is the most important cultivar for processing. Frozen concentrate orange juice has been the primary product of the Florida and Brazilian industries, but recently there has been a strong shift to not from concentrate (NFC) product in Florida. The higher quality NFC has a greater consumer appeal, and brings a higher market price. The development of higher quality oranges with expanded maturity dates will facilitate this change and should increase the competitive ability of the Florida industry. No true sweet orange cultivars have been developed by conventional breeding due to biological impediments, and alternative methods to obtain genetic variation are being investigated, including studies of somaclonal variation. We have produced nearly 1000 somaclones of `Valencia' sweet orange using organogenesis, somatic embryogenesis, and protoplasts. Following several years of fruit evaluation, early and late maturing high quality somaclones have been identified based on juice analytical data (brix, acid, ratio, juice percentage, juice color, and lbs. solids). These clones have also performed exceptionally in taste panel evaluations comparing them with the traditional mid- and late-season cultivars. Second generation trees of the most promising clones have been propagated for further evaluation, and superior processing clones will be released to the Florida industry in the near future. An overview of this program including pilot plant juice quality data and taste panel results will be presented.

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K. Felkey, D.L. Archer, R.M. Goodrich, K.R. Schneider, and J.A. Bartz

This study examined the efficacy of chlorine treatments of flume water for eliminating Salmonella spp. from inoculated wounds and intact surfaces of tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum). Water in a scale-model flume was chlorinated to 150 mg·L-1 of free chlorine at pH 6.5 and maintained at a temperature of 25 or 35 °C, depending on the test. Viable Salmonella were recovered from all of the inoculation sites (intact fruit surface, punctures, shaves, and stem scars) even after treatment with chlorinated water for up to 120 seconds at either 25 or 35 °C. Generally, the highest Salmonella recovery came from puncture wounds and the lowest from the intact surfaces. After 120 seconds at 25 °C, 4.9 to 5.8 log10 units were recovered from the wounds. Populations recovered after the 30-second treatment at 35 °C ranged from 4.1 log10 cfu/mL for intact surfaces to 6.0 log10 cfu/mL in the puncture wounds. At 60- and 120-second treatment times, all wounds had higher mean populations than tomatoes with intact surfaces. Although greater Salmonella survival was associated with shorter exposure to the chlorine, water chlorination cannot completely eliminate contamination of tomato fruit by Salmonella, even on intact surfaces. Stem scars, in this study, were not readily disinfected with sodium hypochlorite.

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Michael J. Mahovic, Rajya Shukla, Renée M. Goodrich-Schneider, Michael V. Wood, Jeffrey K. Brecht, and Keith R. Schneider

It has been reported that netted muskmelons (Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis) treated with moist heat (steam or hot-water immersion) have reduced populations of vegetative surface organisms that may be responsible for spoilage, or that may be pathogenic to consumers. It is unknown, however, what affect a similar heat treatment may have on infesting bacterial endospores (which are dormant, nonreproductive structures that are resistant to environmental stress). Also, any heat treatment used must be effective without exceeding the treated melon's thermal damage threshold. In this study, natural microflora on muskmelon rind pieces treated from 75 to 95 °C for 3 minutes and whole fruit rinds inoculated with Bacillus atrophaeus spores and treated at 85 °C for 3 minutes were observed as a model system to explore the efficacy of moist heat in reducing surface populations of bacterial spores. There were significant reductions in populations of aerobic, nonspore-forming microbes, although the treatments had little to no effect on either the recoverable populations of inoculated B. atrophaeus spores or indigenous spore-forming bacteria. Recovery studies suggested a less than 2 log10 unit reduction of inoculated B. atrophaeus spores after a 3-minute, 85 °C moist heat treatment, and no heat injury symptoms developed on melons during storage for 2 weeks at 5 °C. Increasing treatment temperature from 75 to 95 °C resulted in no increase in efficacy in terms of recovery of indigenous vegetative bacteria. The results of this study suggest that aqueous heat treatment is not a suitable method for reducing populations of the resting structures of spore-forming bacteria from the surface of netted muskmelons.