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C.O. Chardonnet, C.E. Sams, and W.S. Conway

`Golden Delicious' apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) were pressure-infiltrated after harvest with 0%, 1%, 2%, 3%, or 4% CaCl2 solutions (w/v) and the chemical composition of the cell wall of the cortical tissue 2 to 4 mm under the epidermis was studied. The mineral composition of the control cell wall (0% CaCl2) was not affected by the pressure infiltration process. In addition, no significant change was noticed in cell wall associated protein, uronic acid, total polysaccharides, or non-cellulosic neutral sugar contents except for xylose and rhamnose, which decreased (-25%) and increased (+20%), respectively. When apples were infiltrated with CaCl2, Ca content of the cell wall increased and maximum accumulation was achieved with a 2% CaCl2 solution. Calcium infiltration also induced a two-fold increase in Na, a 27% decrease in P, and a 40% decrease in protein content. These data suggest that chemical changes occurring after Ca infiltration are not related to pressure infiltration alone, but are mainly due to the Ca accumulation in the cell wall after pressure infiltration of CaCl2 solutions. Saturation of the available binding sites for Ca occurred in the cell wall when fruit were infiltrated with 2% CaCl2, as no further significant changes in the cell wall chemical composition was detected in fruits infiltrated with 3% or 4% CaCl2.

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W. Robert Trentham, Carl E. Sams, and William S. Conway

Mature apples (Malus domestica Borkh. cv. Golden Delicious) were immersed for 2 min in 0, 0.14, 0.27, or 0.41 mol·L−1 (0, 2%, 4%, or 6%, respectively) aqueous solutions (w/v) of CaCl2 at 0 or 68.95 kPa, and were stored at 0 °C. Histological samples of peel/cortex were taken at harvest and at four monthly intervals in storage. Paraffin sections were stained with an aqueous mixture of alcian blue 8GX, safaranin 0 and Bismark brown Y, or with the periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) reaction. No histological difference was observed in fruit treated with 2% CaCl2 compared with those pressure-infiltrated with greater amounts of Ca. Fruits pressure-infiltrated with 6% CaCl2 exhibited the greatest amount of flattened epidermal cells and hypodermal cavities. Cuticles were also affected at the higher CaCl2 treatment levels (with regard to staining with Bismark brown), becoming more condensed and uniform. Cuticle and hypodermis were stained differentially with PAS in the 6% CaCl2 treatment. All tissues, including the cuticle, were stained magenta red, indicating a possible chemical alteration of the cuticle and the underlying tissue by Ca.

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S. Roy, W.S. Conway, A.E. Watada, G. Gillen, and W.P. Wergin

Calcium is an important constituent of the cell wall and plays roles in maintaining firmness of fruit and reducing postharvest decay. The modification of the cell wall is believed to be influenced by calcium that interacts with acidic pectic polymers to form cross-bridges. Infiltrating apples with CaCl2 has been suggested as an effective postharvest treatment for increasing the calcium content. Three different methodologies were used to analyze the effects of calcium on the cell walls: 1) nickel staining of polygalacturonate on free-hand sections, 2) cationic gold labeling of anionic binding sites in the cell walls, and 3) analytical detection of calcium ions (40Ca, 44Ca) using a secondary ion mass spectrometry. The combination of these methods allowed us to directly visualize the cellular features associated with the infiltration of calcium. Treatment resulted in significant enrichment in the cell wall of the pericarp, transformed the acidic pectins in calcium pectates, and resulted in new calcium cross-bridges. Evidence now suggests that exogenously applied calcium affects the cell wall by enhancing its strength and reinforcing adhesion between neighbor cells; therefore, calcium infiltration delays fruit degradation.

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S. Roy, W.S. Conway, A.E. Watada, C.E. Sams, Eric F. Erbe, and W.P. Wergin

Prestorage heat treatment of apples has been shown to have a positive effect on fruit quality in storage. Postharvest treatment of apples with CaCl2 also beneficially affected fruit during storage. However, calcium uptake seems limited in heat-treated apples which indicates that the surface of the fruit may have been affected by the heat treatment. This study examined the effect of heat treatment on the subsequent uptake of CaCl2 solutions and related this process to the ultrastructure of the epicuticular wax surface of the fruit. Apples were pressure infiltrated with a 4% CaCl2 solution either without heat treatment or following 4 days at 38°C. Examination of the apple surfaces with low temperature scanning electron microscopy revealed that heat treatment changed the pattern of epicuticular wax. The epicuticular wax of non heated fruit exhibited numerous deep surface cracks. The epicotictdar wax of heated fruit did not exhibit similar cracks. This apparent obstruction or elimination of deep cracks may limit the CaCl2, solutions from entering the fruit. The heated fruit contained significantly less calcium compared to the fruit that were pressure infiltrated with the CaCl2 solution but not heated. These results indicate that cracks on the fruit surface may be a” important pathway for the penetration of CaCl2 solutions.

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Stephanie S. Ningen, Janet C. Cole, Michael W. Smith, Diane E. Dunn, and Kenneth E. Conway

The effectiveness of shade intensity and time of day in which irrigation was applied were tested for control of anthracnose symptoms caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides (Penz.) Penz. & Sacc. on container-grown Euonymus fortunei (Turcz.) Hand.-Mazz. `Canadale Gold', `Emerald 'n Gold', and `Emerald Gaiety' during the 2002 and 2003 growing seasons. Rooted cuttings in 3.8 L containers were placed in 0% (full sun), 63%, 73%, or 80% shade at Park Hill, Okla., in 2002 and 2003 and at Stillwater, Okla., in 2002. Overhead irrigation was used to irrigate one-half of the plants in each cultivar and shade treatment in the morning and the other one-half during the afternoon. At both sites, disease damage ratings were inversely related to shade intensity throughout each growing season. Disease incidence was usually lower on afternoon irrigated plants than on morning irrigated plants. `Canadale Gold' typically had the most anthracnose symptoms followed by `Emerald 'n Gold'. `Emerald Gaiety' had the least symptoms regardless of shade intensity or irrigation time.

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G.A. Picchioni, A.E. Watada, W.S. Conway, and B.D. Whitaker

Postharvest Ca infiltration delays senescence and improves storage quality of apple fruit, but the consequences on membrane lipid composition have received little evaluation. We studied changes in galactolipids (mono- and digalactosyl-diacylglycerol; MGDG and DGDG) and sterol conjugates (sterol glycosides and acylated sterol glycosides; SG and ASG) in `Golden Delicious' cortical tissue. Fruit were pressure-infiltrated with CaCl, at harvest (0, 2, or 4% w/v), stored for 6 months at 0C, and evaluated during subsequent exposure to 20C. MGDG, SG and ASG concentrations were greater in Ca-infiltrated fruit (CIF) than in control fruit. A 35-37% increase in ASG occurred during the first 7 days at 20C in CIF, when ASG decreased by 19% in control fruit. Ca infiltration may delay degradation of plastid membranes and increase sterol conjugation during apple fruit ripening.

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G.A. Picchioni, A.E. Watada, W.S. Conway, B.D. Whitaker, and C.E. Sams

Postharvest CaCl2 pressure infiltration improves firmness and storage quality of apples but is still in the experimental stages. Its effectiveness could be increased if we had a better understanding of how Ca affects the tissue at the cellular level. `Golden Delicious' fruit were harvested from a commercial orchard and were pressure-infiltrated with CaCl2 (0%, 2%, or 4% w/v), stored for 6 months at 0C, and then for 7 days at 20C. Between harvest and the end of storage at 20C, the net breakdown of galactolipids and phospholipids decreased with increasing CaCl2 in infiltration solutions. During 0C storage, CaCl2-infiltrated fruit maintained greater concentrations of conjugated sterol lipids, and these lipid classes are thought to be closely associated with the plasma membrane. As membrane lipid alterations are viewed as a central factor in the senescence of fruits, Ca (from postharvest infiltration) may serve a major role in regulating fruit quality losses through its interactions with cell membranes.