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  • Author or Editor: Thomas J. Kelley 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.

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