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Nobuko Sugimoto and Randy Beaudry

The objective of the experiment was to determine developmental changes in major aroma profiles in `Jonagold' apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) and analyze climacteric fruit characteristics. Changes in internal ethylene production, respiration, skin color, texture, and aroma concentration were measured during maturation and ripening of `Jonagold' apple fruit. Patterns for skin color, starch, and internal ethylene content were typical for the variety. Volatile compounds and CO2 increased after a rapid increase in ethylene production. Total ester emission peak coincided with fruit softening. Hexyl acetate, 2-methylbutyl acetate, butyl acetate, and hexyl 2-methylbutanoate were found to be the major volatile compounds detected by GC/MS. Long chain esters, such as hexyl acetate and butyl acetate, contributed during the early stages of ripening and short chain esters such as n-propyl acetate and butyl propanoate increased later. Esters are formed by combining alcohol moiety with CoA derivative of fatty acid moiety by the action of alcohol acyl transferase (AAT). The alcohols butanol, 2-methylbutanol, propanol, and hexanol increased at an earlier developmental stage than the esters for which they acted as substrates.

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Carolina Contreras, Nihad Alsmairat, and Randy Beaudry

‘Honeycrisp’ apples were found to be sensitive to injury from O2 and CO2 partial pressures typical of those in controlled-atmosphere (CA) storage. A preliminary study was conducted in 2008 to investigate the effect of the following O2/CO2 partial pressure (kPa) combinations: 1/0, 3/0, 1/3, 3/3, 21/3, 21/0 (air), and 21/0 with 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP; 1 μL·L−1) on CA-related injuries of 'Honeycrisp' during storage for 6 months at 3 °C. ‘Honeycrisp’ apples were found to be sensitive to an injury comprised of irregular-edged brown lesions in the cortex occasionally accompanied by the formation of lens-shaped voids. The symptoms are similar to CA-related injuries described for other apple cultivars and often characterized as a “CO2 injury.” Injury severity increased as O2 declined and as CO2 increased and was evident within the first month of storage. During 2009, 2010, and 2011, a study was conducted to evaluate options for avoiding injury during CA storage for this cultivar. Fruit were conditioned at 3, 10, and 20 °C for 5 days and then exposed to the following O2/CO2 partial pressure combinations: 3/0, 3/3, 21/0 (regular air); 3/3 with diphenylamine (DPA) drench (1 g·L−1); and 21/0 with 1-MCP (1 μL·L−1). Injury severity declined as the temperature of the prestorage conditioning period increased; holding fruit for 5 days at 20 °C almost completely eliminated the disorder. The antioxidant DPA also provided nearly complete control of CA injury. 1-MCP, although not studied in conjunction with a modified atmosphere, was found to cause no injury in air storage and may provide an alternative to CA storage and avoid the risk of CA injury for ’Honeycrisp’. The relationship between disorder development and growing degree-days, rainfall, and maturity indexes was studied. Ethylene was the only factor with a significant linkage to the development of CA injury (R 2 = 0.35; P = 0.0043). Suggestions for handling of ‘Honeycrisp’ for extended storage are presented.

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Nobuko Sugimoto, Steve van Nocker, Schuyler Korban, and Randy Beaudry

A microarray containing over 10,000 gene fragments was used to link changes in gene expression with changes in aroma biosynthesis in ripening apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh). The microarray was probed with fluorescent-tagged cDNA derived from RNA extracted from `Jonagold' apple skin and cortex tissue representing eight distinct physiological stages spanning 70 days during ripening and senescence. The ripening stages, in chronological order, were: 1) early preclimacteric; 2) late preclimacteric and onset of trace ester biosynthesis; 3) onset of the autocatalytic ethylene and rapidly increasing ester biosynthesis; 4) half-maximal ester biosynthesis and engagement of the respiratory climacteric; 5) near maximal ester biosynthesis, peak in respiratory activity, and the onset of rapid tissue softening; 6) maximal ester biosynthesis prior to its decline, the conclusion of the respiratory climacteric, and the completion of tissue softening; 7) midpoint in the decline in ester biosynthesis and maximal ethylene biosynthesis; and 8) postclimacteric minimum in ester production. Patterns in gene expression reflecting the rise and fall in ester formation were found in some putative genes for beta-oxidation (acyl-CoA oxidase, enoyl-CoA hydratase, and acetyl-CoA acetyl transferase), ester formation (aminotransferase, alcohol dehydrogenase, and alcohol acyl transferase), and fatty acid oxidation (lipoxygenase), but not fatty acid biosynthetic genes. A marked decline coinciding with the onset of ester production was detected in several putative genes for ADH.

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Jim Hancock, Pete Callow, Sedat Serçe, Eric Hanson, and Randy Beaudry

Controlled-atmosphere storage had little effect on the quality of fruit of eight cultivars held under 2 kPa oxygen (O2) and 8 kPa carbon dioxide (CO2) versus ambient air. ‘Elliott’ fruit harvested from bushes with only 30% ripe fruit had significantly better storage quality than fruit picked later; however, there was no significant difference in the storage life of fruit that was stored fully blue versus partially green. Fruit from the first harvest of four cultivars had superior storage quality to that of the second. In one comparison of the long-term storability of nine cultivars, ‘Bluegold’, ‘Brigitta’, and ‘Legacy’ performed the best, storing for 4 to 7 weeks. In another postharvest trial of 17 cultivars, ‘Brigitta’ stored the longest (8 weeks) followed by ‘Aurora’ and ‘Draper’ (7 weeks). The most resistant genotypes to Alternaria spp. were ‘Brigitta’, ‘Aurora’, ‘Elliott’, and ‘Draper’, whereas the most resistant genotypes to Colletotrichum spp. were ‘Elliott’, ‘Brigitta’, ‘Toro’, ‘Draper’, and ‘Bluejay’.

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R. Karina Gallardo, Eric T. Stafne, Lisa Wasko DeVetter, Qi Zhang, Charlie Li, Fumiomi Takeda, Jeffrey Williamson, Wei Qiang Yang, William O. Cline, Randy Beaudry, and Renee Allen

The availability and cost of agricultural labor is constraining the specialty crop industry throughout the United States. Most soft fruits destined for the fresh market are fragile and are usually hand harvested to maintain optimal quality and postharvest longevity. However, because of labor shortages, machine harvest options are being explored out of necessity. A survey on machine harvest of blueberries (Vaccinium sp.) for fresh market was conducted in 2015 and 2016 in seven U.S. states and one Canadian province. Survey respondents totaled 223 blueberry producers of various production sizes and scope. A majority (61%) indicated that their berries were destined for fresh markets with 33% machine harvested for this purpose. Eighty percent said that they thought fruit quality was the limiting factor for machine-harvested blueberries destined for fresh markets. Many producers had used mechanized harvesters, but their experience varied greatly. Just less than half (47%) used mechanical harvesters for fewer than 5 years. Most respondents indicated that labor was a primary concern, as well as competing markets and weather. New technologies that reduce harvesting constraints, such as improvements to harvest machinery and packing lines, were of interest to most respondents. Forty-five percent stated they would be interested in using a modified harvest-aid platform with handheld shaking devices if it is viable (i.e., fruit quality and picking efficiency is maintained and the practice is cost effective). Overall, the survey showed that blueberry producers have great concerns with labor costs and availability and are open to exploring mechanization as a way to mitigate the need for hand-harvest labor.