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A portable, nondispersive infrared (NDIR) gas analyzer was modified to measure the concentration of CO2 and water vapor in small gas samples. A 2-mL gas sample was taken from a series of sealed flasks partially filled with a saturated solution of chemicals known to produce various levels of relative humidity (RH). The modified NDIR instrument quantified water vapor content by its absorption at 2.59 μm. Peak height was displayed on a strip chart recorder and a standard curve constructed. At a specific temperature, the vapor pressure (VP) and vapor pressure difference (VPD) were calculated for sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum L., cv. Mazurka) fruit packed in trays that were covered with plastic films having several levels of perforations. Water loss from the fruit was highly correlated with VPD inside the packages. The modified NDIR instrument has an advantage over other instruments used to measure RH because it can rapidly and simultaneously determine the concentration of water vapor and CO2 in a single injection of a small gas sample.

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Research quantified contributions to total variation in water vapor permeance from sources such as cultivar and harvest date in `Braeburn', `Pacific Rose', `Granny Smith', and `Cripps Pink' apples [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.]. In a study on `Braeburn' fruit from eight orchards in Central Otago, New Zealand, >50% of the total variation in permeance was associated with harvest date. This variation was the result of a large increase in water vapor permeance from 16.6 to 30.2 (se = 0.88, df = 192) nmol·s-1·m-2·Pa-1 over the 8 week experimental harvest period. Fruit to fruit differences accounted for 22% of total variation in permeance. Interaction between harvest date and orchard effects explained 7% of the total variation, indicating that fruit from the different orchards responded in differing ways to advancing harvest date. Tree effects accounted for only 1% of the total variation. Weight loss from respiration [at 20 °C and ≈60% relative humidity (RH)] comprised 3.04±0.11% of total weight loss, averaged across all harvest dates. In a second study of fruit of four apple cultivars, almost 30% of the total variation in water vapor permeance was associated with cultivar differences. Mean water vapor permeance for `Braeburn', `Pacific Rose', `Granny Smith', and `Cripps Pink' fruit was 44, 35, 17, and 20 (se = 4.3, df = 300) nmol·s-1·m-2·Pa-1 respectively. Over 20% of the total variation was associated with harvest date and arose from a large increase in water vapor permeance from 21 nmol·s-1·m-2·Pa-1 at first harvest to 46 nmol·s-1·m-2·Pa-1 (se = 5.3, df = 200) at final harvest, 10 weeks later, on average across all four cultivars. There was large fruit to fruit variation in water vapor permeance accounting for 25% of the total variation in permeance values. Tree effects only accounted for 4% of the total variation. Water vapor permeance in `Pacific Rose'` and `Braeburn' increased substantially with later harvest but values remained relatively constant for `Granny Smith' and `Cripps Pink'. A simple mathematical model was developed to predict weight loss from `Braeburn' fruit. Based on these findings, it appears worthwhile to increase the stringency of measures to control weight loss in `Braeburn' and `Pacific Rose'` apples, particularly those harvested late in the season.

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Vapors of several common vinegars containing 4.2% to 6.0% (= 2.5 to 3.6 mol·L-1) acetic acid effectively prevented conidia of brown rot [Monilinia fructicola (G. Wint.) Honey], gray mold (Botrytis cinerea Pers.:Fr.), and blue mold (Penicillium expansum Link) from germinating and causing decay of stone fruit (Prunus sp.), strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duchesne), and apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh.), respectively. Fruit were fumigated in 12.7-L sealed containers in which vinegar was dripped on to filter paper wicks or vaporized by heating from an aluminum receptacle. Vapor from 1.0 mL of red wine vinegar (6.0% acetic acid) reduced decay by M. fructicola on `Sundrop' apricots (Prunus armeniaca L.) from 100% to 0%. Similarly, vapor from 1.0 mL of white vinegar (5.0% acetic acid) reduced decay in strawberries by B. cinerea from 50% to 1.4%. Eight different vinegars, ranging from 4.2% to 6.0% acetic acid, of which 0.5 mL of each vinegar was heat-vaporized, reduced decay by P. expansum to 1% or less in `Jonagold' apples. The volume of heat-vaporized white vinegar (5.0% acetic acid) necessary to reduce decay by P. expansum on `Jonagold' apples to zero was 36.6 μL·L-1 of air. Increasing the number of conidia on the apple surface reduced the effectiveness of vinegar vapor. The number of lesions caused by P. expansum on `McIntosh' apple decreased exponentially with increasing time of fumigation, approaching zero after about 6 hours. These results suggest that vinegar vapor could be an effective alternative to liquid biocides such as sodium hypochlorite for sterilization of surfaces contaminated by conidia of fungal pathogens.

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Abstract

CO2 assimilation (A), leaf conductance to water vapor (gl), mesophyll conductance (gm), and water use efficiency (WUE) were compared for two cultivars of highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) and a wild diploid lowbush blueberry species (Vaccinium darrowii Camp.) in response to PPF, CO2, temperature, and vapor pressure deficit (VPD) to determine if apparent tolerance of V. darrowii to high temperature and drought conditions resulted from differences in gas exchange characteristics. Cultivar differences between ‘Bluecrop’ and ‘Jersey’ in A were not significant when expressed on a leaf area, leaf dry weight, or total chlorophyll basis. Maximum CO2 assimilation rates for V. darrowii were about 35%, 50%, or 40% lower than highbush cultivars when expressed on a leaf area, leaf dry weight, or total chlorophyll basis, respectively. Differences between ‘Bluecrop’ and ‘Jersey’ were also non-significant for mesophyll conductance, transpiration, CO2 compensation points, and water use efficiency. CO2 assimilation maximized between 600-800 µmol·s–1·m–2 photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) for all three genotypes and the temperature optima ranged between 18° and 26°C for ‘Jersey’, 14° and 22° for ‘Bluecrop’, and 25° and 30° for V. darrowii. As temperature was increased from 20° to 30°, leaf conductance (gl) to water vapor was lower and water use efficiency was higher for V. darrowii, compared to ‘Bluecrop’ but not ‘Jersey’. There was a 50-65% reduction in gl as VPD was increased, but only 10–20% reduction was observed in A. Leaf conductance to water vapor was reduced for V. darrowii, which restricted intercellular CO2. Since crosses are possible between highbush and V. darrowii, it is possible that heat tolerance and/or drought resistance could be improved in Highbush blueberry through the incorporation of genes from V. darrowii.

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Vapors of several common vinegars containing 4.2% to 6.0% (= 2.5 to 3.6 mol·L-1) acetic acid effectively prevented conidia of brown rot [Monilinia fructicola (G. Wint.) Honey], gray mold (Botrytis cinerea Pers.:Fr.), and blue mold (Penicillium expansum Link) from germinating and causing decay of stone fruit (Prunus sp.), strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duchesne), and apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh.), respectively. Fruit were fumigated in 12.7-L sealed containers in which vinegar was dripped on to filter paper wicks or vaporized by heating from an aluminum receptacle. Vapor from 1.0 mL of red wine vinegar (6.0% acetic acid) reduced decay by M. fructicola on `Sundrop' apricots (Prunus armeniaca L.) from 100% to 0%. Similarly, vapor from 1.0 mL of white vinegar (5.0% acetic acid) reduced decay in strawberries by B. cinerea from 50% to 1.4%. Eight different vinegars, ranging from 4.2% to 6.0% acetic acid, of which 0.5 mL of each vinegar was heat-vaporized, reduced decay by P. expansum to 1% or less in `Jonagold' apples. The volume of heat-vaporized white vinegar (5.0% acetic acid) necessary to reduce decay by P. expansum on `Jonagold' apples to zero was 36.6 μL·L-1 of air. Increasing the number of conidia on the apple surface reduced the effectiveness of vinegar vapor. The number of lesions caused by P. expansum on `McIntosh' apple decreased exponentially with increasing time of fumigation, approaching zero after about 6 hours. These results suggest that vinegar vapor could be an effective alternative to liquid biocides such as sodium hypochlorite for sterilization of surfaces contaminated by conidia of fungal pathogens.

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The effects of three highly refined petroleum spray oils and of ambient vapor pressure on net CO2 assimilation (A) and stomatal conductance of water vapor (gs) of single grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) leaves were investigated. Overall, gs of various-aged leaves was decreased by a large leaf-to-air vapor pressure difference (VPD). In the first experiment, oils with midpoint distillation temperatures (50% DT) of 224, 235, and 247C were applied with a hand atomizer at concentrations of 0, 1%, and 4% oil emulsions in water and 100% oil, all with 0.82% surfactant (by volume). There was a tendency for oils of the two higher DT to decrease net gas exchange during a subsequent 12 days, but significant differences could not be attributed to oil DT. Both A and gs were reduced by the two higher concentrations of oil mixtures. In the second experiment, a commercial airblast sprayer was used to apply the 224C oil at 4% or the 235C oil at 2% and 4% mixtures plus surfactant under field conditions. There were no significant effects of oil treatments on net gas exchange of leaves either measured under moderate VPD outdoors 1 day after spraying or under low VPD in the laboratory 2 days after spraying. No visible phytotoxic symptoms were observed in either experiment.

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Quantitative differences in leaf abscisic acid (ABA) among Acer rubrum L. (red maple) ecotypes were investigated. This study tested the hypothesis that seedlings from wet and dry maternal sites display distinctly different capacities to synthesize ABA in response to atmospheric vapor pressure deficits. The increased levels of ABA in leaf tissue in the red maple ecotypes were associated with atmospheric vapor pressure deficit (VPD). Leaves on well-watered plants responded to VPD by increasing their ABA levels and reducing their photosynthesis (Anet) and stomatal conductance (gs). Both ecotypes appear to accumulate ABA at about the same rate as VPD increased. Despite the similar accumulation rates between ecotypes, wet site ecotypes consistently had a higher level of ABA present in leaf tissue under both low and high VPD conditions. Furthermore, wet site provenances appear to reduce Anet and gs in response to ABA accumulation, whereas dry sites do not present as clear an ABA/gs relationship. This study shows variation between wet and dry site red maple populations in physiological response to atmospheric vapor pressure deficits, indicating that natural ecotypic variation in stomatal responsiveness to air humidity is likely mediated by ABA accumulation in leaf tissue. This research demonstrates that ecotypes of red maple may be selected for atmospheric drought tolerance based on site moisture conditions.

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Hexanal vapor inhibited hyphae growth of P. expansum Link. and B. cinerea Pers. on PDA media and on apple slices. After 48 hours exposure to 100 μl·liter–1 hexanal, the hyphae growth of both fungi was ≈ 50% that of nontreated controls. At a concentration of 250 μl·liter–1, neither fungi grew during the treatment period, however, some growth of both fungi occurred 120 hours after treatment. At concentrations of hexanal vapor of ≥450 μl·liter–1, the growth of both fungi ceased, and the organisms were apparently killed, neither showing regrowth when moved to air. When fungi were allowed to germinate and grow for 48 hours in hexanal-free air, a subsequent 48-hour exposure to 250 μl·liter–1 hexanal slowed colony growth relative to controls for several days and a 48-hour exposure to 450 μl·liter–1 stopped growth completely. Concentrations of hexanal that inhibited fungal growth on PDA also retarded decay lesion development on `Golden Delicious' and on `Jonagold' apple slices. Hexanal treatment stimulated aroma volatile production in `Jonagold' and `Golden Delicious' apple slices with hexanol and hexylacetate production strongly enhanced after 20 to 30 hours of treatment. A small amount of butylhexanoate and hexylhexanoate production also was noted. Since hexanal was converted to aroma-related volatiles by the fruit, the possibility of developing a system for nonresiduel antifungal agent is promising. This possibility was examined in modified-atmosphere packages.

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Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. `Bermuda') were vacuum infiltrated at the breaker stage with 25 to 55 mL·L-1 ethanol (EtOH) vapor at a 10 kPa pressure for 5 minutes and then held for a further period before ripening in air at 22 °C. Fruit could tolerate these EtOH vapor concentrations for no longer than 0 to 12 hours after vacuum infiltration, depending on concentration; otherwise skin pitting, uneven ripening and off-flavors resulted. Noninjurious conditions delayed ripening, as judged by color change, by an additional 1 to 5 days compared with 4 days for the control; aroma or flavor were not altered as determined by a trained taste panel, except in extreme conditions where in some cases off-flavors increased. Soluble solids and titratable acidity did not vary, but pH increased by 0.1 units in some treatments. In control fruit EtOH was found only in the gel tissue, and acetaldehyde (AA) was higher in the gel tissue compared with the pericarp and columella, indicating different metabolic behavior of the various tomato tissues. During vacuum exposure, EtOH moved through the stem scar and to a much lesser extent through the epidermis; during subsequent exposure to EtOH more EtOH moved through the epidermis than before, but still less than through the stem scar. AA increased following EtOH uptake, but all increases in EtOH and AA disappeared before fruit ripened.

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Transpiration is essential to the performance of tomato plants. In greenhouses, transpiration can be impeded by low vapor-pressure deficits (VPD). An experiment was conducted to measure the effect of VPD on transpiration rates for greenhouse tomatoes grown on a nutrient film. Four treatments were applied: high (0.8 kpa) day and night VPDs; high day and low night (0.4 kPa) VPDs; low day and low night VPDs; and variable VPDs. The VPD was controlled using fogging and ventilation. Hourly transpiration values were recorded. Results show a significant difference between treatments. The measured transpiration rates were compared to the values calculated with a transpiration model. A good fit between measured and calculated values was observed. The model is being used within a dynamic VPD control strategy.

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