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Randolph Beaudry and Arthur Cameron

The steady-state oxygen concentration at which blueberry fruit began to exhibit anaerobic carbon dioxide production. (i.e., the RQ breakpoint) was determined for fruit held at 0, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 C using a modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) system. As fruit temperature decreased, the RQ breakpoint occurred at lower oxygen concentrations. The decrease in the RQ breakpoint oxygen is thought to be due to a decreasing oxygen demand of the cooler fruit.

The decrease in oxygen demand and concomitant decrease in oxygen flux would have resulted in a decrease in the difference in the oxygen concentrate on between the inside and outside of the fruit and thus decreased the minimum amount of oxygen tolerated. The implications on MAP strategies will be discussed.

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Randolph M. Beaudry

The application of low oxygen through modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is a technique used successfully to preserve the visual quality of lettuce and some other commodities. The expansion of use of low O2 via MAP to preserve quality of most commodities is limited by technical difficulties achieving target O2 concentrations, adverse physiological responses to low O2, and lack of beneficial responses to low O2. Low O2 often is not used simply because the physiological responses governed by the gas are not limiting quality maintenance. For instance, shelf life may be governed by decay susceptibility, which is largely unaffected by low O2 and may actually be exacerbated by the conditions encountered in hermetically sealed packages. Physiological processes influenced by low O2 and limit storability are discussed. The interdependence of O2 concentration, O2 uptake by the product, and temperature are discussed relative to requirements for packaging films.

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Fernando Vallejo and Randolph Beaudry

We tested the sorptive capacity of a number of nontarget materials found in apple storage rooms on their capacity to remove 1-MCP from the storage atmosphere and thereby compete with the fruit for the active compound. Furthermore, we evaluated the impact of temperature and moisture. Nontarget materials included bin construction materials [high density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP), weathered oak, nonweathered oak, plywood, and cardboard] and wall construction materials (polyurethane foam and cellulose-based fire retardant). Each piece had an external surface area of 76.9 cm2. We placed our “nontarget” materials in 1-L mason jars and added 1-MCP gas to the headspace at an initial concentration of ≈30 μL·L-1. Gas concentrations were measured after 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 24 hours. The concentration of 1-MCP in empty jars was stable for the 24-hour holding period. Little to no sorption was detected in jars containing dry samples of HDPE, PP, cardboard, polyurethane foam, or fire retardant. Inclusion of plywood, nonweathered oak, and weathered oak lead to a loss of 10%, 55%, and 75% of the 1-MCP after 24 hours, respectively. Using dampened materials, no sorption resulted from the inclusion of HDPE, PP, polyurethane foam, or the fire retardant. However, the rate of sorption of 1-MCP by dampened cardboard, plywood, weathered oak, and nonweathered oak increased markedly, resulting in a depletion of ≈98%, 70%, 98%, and 98%, respectively. The data suggest that there are situations where 1-MCP levels can be compromised by wooden and cardboard bin and bin liner materials, but not by plastic bin materials or typical wall construction materials.

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Randolph M. Beaudry

A theoretical model was developed that predicts how volatiles synthesized by fruit accumulate in the fruit interior and the fruit cuticle. Model inputs include temperature, rates of volatile synthesis, solubility of the volatile in the cuticular material, and the permeability of the volatile through the cuticle. The model indicated that the accumulation of volatiles was highly temperature-dependent and dependent upon the nature of the interaction between the volatile and the cuticle. For volatiles whose cuticular permeability declined rapidly with temperature, the concentration in the fruit and fruit cuticle tended to increase with decreasing temperature. This accumulation of volatiles in the fruit and fruit cuticle with decreasing temperature was enhanced by a decrease in the heat of solution (i.e., temperature sensitivity of solubility) and diminished by an increase in the Q10 Of the rate of volatile synthesis (i.e., the temperature sensitivity of the rate of synthesis). The model suggests that storage temperature can influence volatile retention and, hence, the volatile profile.

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Randolph M. Beaudry

Blueberry fruit were sealed in 0.00254 cm (1 mil) thick, 200 cm2 low density polyethylene pouches, which, in turn, were sealed in containers continually purged with gas mixtures containing 0, 20, 40 or 60 kPa CO2 and held at 15C. Sampling the gas composition of the enclosed package permitted accurate determination of O2 uptake, CO2 production and the respiratory quotient (RQ) despite the high background CO2 levels. O2 uptake was minimally affected by the CO2 treatments. CO2 production, however, increased at CO2 partial pressures over 20 kPa, resulting in an elevated RQ at 40 and 60 kPa CO2. Raising the CO2 partial pressure caused the fruit to become more sensitive to lowered O2, raising the O2 partial pressure associated with the RQ breakpoint.

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Rufino Perez and Randolph M. Beaudry

Volatile production is known to change with stages of plant organ development. Research has primarily focused on ripening-related volatiles; however, the potential exists to use volatiles as markers of organ damage and senescence. We have employed gas chromatography/mass spectrometry to establish stages of senescence based on volatile profiles of whole and lightly processed broccoli and carrot. An air-tight chopping apparatus was used as a flow-through chamber system and the exit gas stream analyzed for each commodity with and without tissue disruption. For carrot, isoprenoid pathway volatiles, such as 3-carene, caryophellene, α-caryophellene, and β-pinene, increase with damage and tissue senescence. Similar trends were obtained for broccoli with volatiles characteristic of β-oxidation and shikimic acid pathways. Time and condition-related volatile profile changes will be presented for carrot, broccoli, and strawberry.

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Elzette van Rooyen* and Randolph Beaudry

The objective of this study was to evaluate preharvest fertilizer application and postharvest storage temperature and duration as they affect the intensity and stability of color in red and purple potato cultivars during storage. `Michigan Purple', `Dakota Rose', and `Chieftain' were stored at 4 °C and hue angle (h°) was measured weekly. The initial `Michigan Purple' h° of 1.1° changed to 23.2° after 18 weeks of storage (a shift in h° from 350° to 30° changes from purple to red) while the initial hue angle of 18.5° and 34.1° for red-skinned cultivars, `Dakota Rose' and `Chieftain', changed to 27.2° and 43.2°, respectively. Hence, the degree of color shift was greater in `Michigan Purple' although all the cultivars in this experiment underwent significant color change during storage. Hue angle of `Michigan Purple' tubers stored at 4°, 10°, and 20 °C for 8 weeks changed 19.4°, 12°, and 14.2° toward the redder h°, respectively. Thus, the color of `Michigan Purple' tubers changed the least at 10°C. Hue angle of `Michigan Purple' tubers fertilized with 180 lbs/acre slow-releasing nitrogen, 180 lbs/acre nitrogen, 270 lbs/acre nitrogen, and 2.5 lbs/acre poultry manure was measured after 5 weeks at 4 °C. Hue angles were 0.92°, 11.65°, 3.99°, and 1.34°, respectively. The hue of the first three treatments differed significantly from one another, but the hue of the potatoes treated with 180 lbs/acre slow-releasing nitrogen and 2.5 lbs/acre poultry manure did not differ. Preharvest factors like plant nutrition can influence tuber color in storage and `Michigan Purple' tuber color is particularly sensitive to storage temperature.

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Weimin Deng and Randolph M. Beaudry

Sampling factors that could affect gas chromatograph (GC) response for volatile analysis such as syringe pumping time, injection volume, needle length, temperature, and the type of volatile were investigated. Capillary GC column segments (steel and glass) were installed in gas-tight syringes and used as needles for volatile analysis. Standard stainless-steel needles were also used. Hexylacetate, ethyl-2-methylbutyrate, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, and butanol standard were measured. The number of pumps required to maximize GC response for each needle–volatile combination was determined. Maximal GC response for hexylacetate using standard stainless steel, capillary glass, and capillary steel needles required 10, 20 and 30 pumps, respectively. However, for butanol measurement, the optimal syringe pump number was 5 to 10 for all needle types. The use of a capillary needle resulted in an increase in GC response in the range of 3- to 15-fold relative to a standard stainless steel needle. Injection volume affected GC response in a needle-and volatile-dependent manner. In no case did injection volume vs. GC response extrapolate through origin. The GC response for capillary column needles increased as temperature decreased. Capillary column needles may be useful tools for analysis of volatiles that readily partition into the column coating.

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Weimin Deng and Randolph M. Beaudry

A simple packaging system was developed to simultaneously measure volatile production by plant organs and the permeability of the packaging film to those volatiles. In this system, apple (Malus domestica Borkk cv Golden Delicious) was packaged in low-density polyethylene (LDPE) bag and placed into a glass jar with a low air flow. The package and jar head spaces were sampled for aroma volatile analysis by gas chromatograph. Analysis was by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. This system allowed at least 10 volatile compounds and their permeabilities to be measured. This system permits volatile production to be measured for products in the package so the product need not be removed from its storage environment. This may be a useful method for determining the dynamic relationship between flavor volatile synthesis and package atmosphere for packaged produce.