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  • Author or Editor: Raymond Thomas x
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Abstract

Peroxidase activity was determined in cucumber fruit (37 to 55 mm in diameter) subjected to mechanical stress followed by storage at 25C and 100% RH. Compared to unstressed, unstored control fruit, severe mechanical stress stimulated total extractable peroxidase activity after 24 and 48 hr of storage. Moderate mechanical stress or storage alone stimulated peroxidase activity to lesser degrees. Peroxidase isozyme analysis by native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis showed that cucumber anodic peroxidases could be separated into slow-, moderate-, and fast-migrating groups. Both moderate and severe mechanical stress caused the appearance of a new slow-migrating peroxidase isozyme immediately after treatment. This slow-migrating isozyme disappeared after 24 hr of storage, then reappeared after 48 hr. Severe stress induced the appearance of two additional moderate-migrating peroxidases 24 hr after treatment. The same fast-migrating isozymes were also present in unstressed and moderately stressed fruits stored for 48 hr. Hence, using peroxidase as an indicator, it appears that mechanical stress induces an accelerated aging of processing cucumber fruit.

Open Access

A nondestructive method was developed utilizing a modified Trebor 101 watercore tester to evaluate the internal quality of pickling cucumbers. The method involved measuring the relative amount of visible-infrared light passing through the longitudinal midsection of whole cucumber fruit. Light transmission was quantified on a unitless sigmoid scale from 1 to 10, with light transmission and scale values positively related. Immediately after hand harvest, size 3F (47 to 51 mm in diameter) cucumbers exhibited transmission values between 2 and 3, regardless of cultivar. Following a mechanical-stress treatment, which simulated bruising incurred during harvesting and handling of cucumbers, the internal quality of the fruit declined and was associated with an increase to a value of 6 in light transmission compared to non-stressed fruit. Light transmission increased as the severity of stress applied to the fruit increased, and high light transmission values were evident throughout a 48 h storage period at room temperature. Light transmission values increased as fruit diameter decreased, but values within a particular size class of undamaged, hand-harvested fruit were consistent. Machine-harvested fruit (size 3F), evaluated just before processing, exhibited light transmission values from 2 to 8, but the majority of fruit fell within the transmission range of 2 to 3. When fruit exhibiting different light transmission values were speared (cut longitudinally into sixths), processed, and then visually evaluated by panelists, spears prepared from fruit exhibiting high transmission values were judged to be of lower quality than those prepared from fruit exhibiting low transmission values. Visible-infrared light transmission may be a valuable tool for detecting poor quality cucumbers before processing, and could allow the mechanical selection of high quality fruit on a large scale basis.

Free access

The synchronously dichogamous flowering behavior of avocado has historically been assumed to promote cross-pollination. Preliminary studies in southern California have revealed that self-pollination is more typical. The primary objective of the California research is to determine the paternity of individual fruit sampled during early and late fruit development using SSR markers. Cultivars included Hass as the primary cultivar and Bacon, Ettinger, Fuerte, Harvest, Lamb Hass, Marvel, Nobel, SirPrize, and Zutano serving as cross-pollinizing cultivars. We were able to: 1) estimate proportions of self- and cross-pollinated `Hass' fruit with cultivars planted in rows of varying proximity to the `Hass' rows; determine if the proportion of outcrossed fruit increased during maturity due to preferential abscission of self-pollinated fruit; and 2) determine if there is preferential retention of fruit cross-pollinated by a specific cultivar during maturation. On average, cross-pollination by any individual cultivar in 2004 was 6% or less in marble-sized fruit. Over 70% of the fruit were self-pollinated. This is greater than the proportion of self-pollination (about 30%) observed in near-mature fruit harvested in the previous year, 2003. Proportions of marble-sized fruit pollinated by each cultivar within each row were compared to the proportions of self or cross-pollinations in fruit harvested from the same trees at near-maturity. We observed about a 10% increase in proportion of self-pollinated fruit and a concomitant decrease in retained fruit derived from cross-pollination. Self-pollination appears to be the dominant mode of pollination. These preliminary results indicate that trees benefit from it, perhaps in preference over cross-pollination.

Free access

Significant advances in controlled-environment (CE) plant production lighting have been made in recent years, driven by rapid improvements in light-emitting diode (LED) technologies. Aside from energy efficiency gains, LEDs offer the ability to customize the spectrum delivered to a crop, which may have untold benefits for growers and researchers alike. Understanding how these specific wavebands are attenuated by plant tissue is important if lighting engineers are to fully optimize systems for CE plant production. In this study, seven different greenhouse and field crops (radish, Raphanus sativus ‘Cherry Bomb II’; red romaine lettuce, Lactuca sativa ‘Outredgeous’, green leaf lettuce, Lactuca sativa ‘Waldmann’s Green’; pepper, Capsicum annuum ‘Fruit Basket’; soybean, Glycine max ’Hoyt’; cucumber, Cucumis sativus ‘Spacemaster’; canola, Brassica napus ‘Westar’) were grown in CE chambers under two different light intensities (225 and 420 μmol·m−2·s−1). Intact, fully expanded upper canopy leaves were used to determine the level of light transmission, at two to three different plant ages, across seven different wavebands with peaks at 400, 450, 530, 595, 630, 655, and 735 nm. The photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) environment that plants were grown in affected light transmission across the different LED wavelengths in a crop-dependent manner. Plant age had no effect on light transmission at the time intervals examined. Specific waveband transmission from the seven LED sources varied similarly across plant types with low transmission of blue and red wavelengths, intermediate transmission of green and amber wavelengths, and the highest transmission at the far-red wavelengths. Higher native PPF increased anthocyanin levels in red romaine lettuce compared with the lower native PPF treatment. Understanding the differences in light transmission will inform the development of novel, energy-saving lighting architectures for CE plant growth.

Free access

Avocado (Persea americana Mill.) has an unusual flowering mechanism, diurnally synchronous protogynous dichogamy, that promotes crosspollination among avocado genotypes. In commercial groves, which usually contain pollinizer rows adjacent to the more desirable commercial cultivars, the rate of outcrossing has been measured with variable results. Using microsatellite markers, we estimated outcrossing in a commercial California ‘Hass’ avocado orchard with adjacent ‘Bacon’ pollinizers. Seedlings grown from mature harvested fruit of both cultivars were genotyped with five fully informative microsatellite markers and their parentage determined. Among the 919 seedlings of ‘Hass’, 688 (75%) were hybrids with ‘Bacon’; the remaining 231 (25%) seedlings were selfs of ‘Hass’. Among the 850 seedlings of ‘Bacon’, 382 (45%) were hybrids with ‘Hass’ and the remaining 468 (55%) seedlings were selfs of ‘Bacon’. The high outcrossing rate observed in the ‘Hass’ seedlings was expected, because adjacent rows of opposite flowering types (A versus B) are expected to outcross. However, the high selfing rate in ‘Bacon’ was unexpected. A previous study in Florida using the cultivars ‘Simmonds’ and ‘Tonnage’ demonstrated differences in outcrossing rates between complementary flowering type cultivars. In both Florida and California, the A type parents (‘Hass’ and ‘Simmonds’) had similar outcrossing rates (≈75%); however, the B type parents (‘Bacon’ and ‘Tonnage”) had highly skewed outcrossing rates of 45% and 96%, respectively. Two new avocado lethal mutants were discovered among the selfed seedlings of ‘Hass’ and ‘Bacon’. These were labeled “spindly” and “gnarly” and are similar in phenotype to mutants described in Arabidopsis and other crop species.

Free access

Changes in fruit quality attributes and antioxidative properties from six cultivars of thornless blackberries (Rubus sp.) (`Apache', `Arapaho', `Chester', `Loch Ness', `Navaho', and `Triple Crown') during four different ripening stages (red, mottled, shiny-black, and dull-black) were determined under Alabama growing conditions. Berry fruit samples were evaluated for pH, titratable acidity, total soluble solids, TSS/TA ratio, soluble sugars, vitamin C (reduced, oxidized and total), and antioxidant capacity (measured as trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity, TEAC). Significant variation among cultivars were noted in fruit quality attributes and antioxidative properties, which were influenced by maturity at harvest. An increase in fruit pH concomitant with a decline in titratable acidity (TA) was observed during ripening for all cultivars. Total soluble solids (TSS) values increased from 5.7% to 11.6%, with associated TSS/TA ratio values ranging from 11.92 to 63.56 in ripening fruit. Highest reducing and total sugar content were contained in dull-black fruit. Vitamin C content either declined or remained unchanged with ripening, and the pattern was dependent on cultivar, maturity at harvest and form determined. In general, antioxidant activity declined between red and dull-black ripening stages. The results suggest that the TSS/TA ratio may provide the best maturity index in determining optimal eating quality and antioxidant capacity in terms of TEAC value the best indicator of optimal nutritional quality as influenced by maturity at harvest.

Free access

The relationship between fruit maturation and accumulation of hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2), lipid peroxidation, ethylene (C2 H4) production, antioxidant activity (hydrophilic, lipophilic and total) and the antioxidant enzyme ascorbate peroxidase (APX, EC 1.11.1.11) in fruit pericarp tissue of `Chandler' (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) strawberry were measured. `Chandler' fruit pericarp maturation and ripening were accompanied by a decline in H2 O2 content early in fruit development followed by a rapid accumulation. An increase in membrane lipid peroxidation (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, TBARS) coincided with accumulation of H2 O2, which preceded a rise in C2 H4 production. In general, antioxidant activity declined as fruit matured and ripened. APX enzyme activity increased by 2-fold and peaked at the pink stage of development and then gradually declined with ripening. H2 O2 may serve as a signal molecule to initiate the cascade of oxidative processes during maturation and ripening. APX enzyme activity during maturation and ripening was not substantial and thus, may not have a role in alleviating accumulation of H2 O2 and subsequent events related to oxidative senescence in fruit pericarp. To our knowledge, this is the first study to present fractionated antioxidant activities (HAA, LAA and TAA) from strawberry pericarp as assessed by the ABTS∼+ radical cation assay. A fundamental understanding of the mechanisms involved in the senescent related-oxidative changes during strawberry fruit ontogeny in relation to quality and nutrition is discussed.

Free access

Blackberries are an excellent source of natural antioxidants. Fully ripened fruit of `Apache', `Arapaho', `Chester', `Loch Ness', `Navaho', and `Triple Crown' thornless blackberries were evaluated for their physicochemical and antioxidative activity. Differences in initial pH, titratable acidity (TA), total soluble solids (TSS), TSS/TA ratio and soluble sugars (reducing sugar, sucrose, and total sugars) differed among cultivars. Differences among cultivars with respect to reduced ascorbic acid (AA) were established, but there were no differences in either oxidized ascorbic acid (DHA) or total ascorbic acid (TAA) content. Antioxidant activity was determined by ABTS radical cation procedure for fractionated crude fruit extracts and the cultivars varied in the parameters evaluated. Hydrophilic antioxidant activity (HAA) was not different among cultivars evaluated. In contrast, lipophilic antioxidant activity (LAA) and total antioxidant activity (TAA) differed. The results obtained in this study indicate that Alabama-grown blackberries vary in their quality indices and are an excellent source of natural antioxidants. Information compiled will assist in marketing, handling, postharvest storage of these fruit and serve as a guide to partial fulfillment of recommended daily dietary requirements.

Free access