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Particle film technology is a new tool for tree fruit production systems. Trials were performed in Santiago, Chile, and Washington and West Virginia to evaluate the effect of particle film treatments on apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill var domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] fruit temperature and the incidence of solar injury. Fruit surface temperature was reduced by the application of reflective particles and the amount of temperature reduction was proportional to the amount of particle residue on the fruit surface. Effective solar injury suppression was achieved with spray applications of 45 to 56 kg·ha-1 of a reflective, processed-kaolin particle film material in concentrations ranging from 3% to 12% in some of the locations. The timing of application to suppress solar injury was not clearly defined. The processed-kaolin particle film material was highly reflective to the ultraviolet wavelengths and this characteristic may be important in reducing solar injury to both fruit and leaves.

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Unlike cold-hardy apple germplasm, dormant vegetative buds from cold-tender accessions require stabilization of meristematic tissue to protect against injury during desiccation and cryopreservation. Dormant buds of six apple cultivars [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf. `Cox's Orange Pippin', `Einshemer', `Golden Delicious', `Jonagold', `K-14', and `Mutsu'] collected at specific intervals in 1993, 1994, and 1995 at Geneva, N.Y., were stabilized by encapsulation in 5% alginate, treated with step-wise imbibition of 0.5 to 1.0 m sucrose and 0.2 m raffinose solution, and desiccated with forced air at 0 °C. Sugar-alginate stabilization reduced injury during desiccation, increased cold-hardiness of the six cold-tender cultivars frozen to -30 °C, and improved recovery following cryopreservation of buds collected before optimal cold acclimation was attained. Sucrose tissue levels did not increase following stabilization treatment, but levels of glucose and fructose, and of an unknown disaccharide increased. This procedure used nontoxic cryoprotectants, and has potential to expand the scope of dormant bud cryopreservation to include cold-tender apple germplasm.

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An ethylene action inhibitor, MCP, was applied to preclimacteric and climacteric apple [Malus sylvestris L. (Mill.) var. domestica Borkh. Mansf.] fruit. Experiments were conducted in North Carolina and Washington State utilizing the following cultivars: Fuji, Gala, Ginger Gold, Jonagold, and Delicious. MCP inhibited loss of fruit firmness and titratable acidity when fruit were held in storage at 0 °C up to 6 months and when fruit were held at 20 to 24 °C for up to 60 days. For all cultivars except `Fuji', differences in firmness between treated and nontreated fruit exceeded 10 N after 6 months storage. These beneficial effects were seen in both preclimacteric and climacteric fruit. Ethylene production and respiration were reduced substantially by MCP treatment. MCP-treated fruit had soluble solids equal to or greater than those in nontreated fruit. Storage and shelf life were extended for all cultivars tested. Chemical name used: 1-methylcyclopropene (MCP).

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Effect of crop load on tree growth, leaf characteristics, photosynthesis, and fruit quality of 5-year-old `Braeburn' apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] trees on Malling 26 (M.26) rootstock was examined during the 1994-95 growing season. Crop loads ranged from 0 to 57 kg/tree [0 to 1.6 kg fruit/cm2 trunk cross sectional area (TCA) or 0 to 8.7 fruit/cm2 TCA]. Fruit maturity as indicated by background color, starch/iodine score, and soluble solids was advanced significantly on low-cropping trees compared to high-cropping trees. Whole-canopy leaf area and percentage tree light interception increased linearly with a significant trend as crop load decreased. From midseason until fruit harvest, leaf photosynthesis decreased significantly on lighter cropping trees and similarly, a positive linear trend was found between whole-canopy gas exchange per unit area of leaf and crop load. Leaf starch concentration in midseason increased linearly as crop load decreased, providing some explanation for the increased down-regulation of photosynthesis on trees with lower crop loads. After fruit harvest, the previous crop loads had no effect on leaf photosynthesis and preharvest differences in whole-canopy gas exchange per unit area of leaf were less pronounced. At each measurement date, daily whole-canopy net carbon exchange and transpiration closely followed the diurnal pattern of incident photosynthetic photon flux. The photochemical yield and electron transport capacity depended on crop load. This was due mostly to reaction center closure before harvest and an increased nonphotochemical quenching after harvest.

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BA was applied at 50 or 100 mg·L-1 to `More-Spur McIntosh'/Malling 7 (M.7) apple trees [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] at the 10 mm stage of fruit development. BA thinned fruit and increased fruit size. There were two distinguishable peaks of fruit abscission during `June drop'. BA accentuated the naturally occurring waves of fruit abscission, and enhanced translocation of 14C-sorbitol from leaves to fruit when applied directly to the fruit, but not when applied directly to the leaves. Net photosynthesis was decreased and dark respiration was increased when temperature following BA application was high (30 °C), whereas there was no effect when temperature was lower (20 °C). Total nonstructural carbohydrates, total soluble sugars, and starch in the leaves decreased dramatically over the 12- or 13-day observation period, regardless of BA treatment. These carbohydrate concentrations in the leaves were lowered further by BA application. Abscising fruit, based on specific reddening of the pedicel, had higher carbohydrate levels than persisting fruit, regardless of BA application. We conclude that BA thins fruit, at least in part, by increasing dark respiration and decreasing net photosynthesis. Chemical name used: N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purine-6-amine [benzyladenine (BA)].

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Experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of BA, removal of bourse shoot tips including only folded leaves and growing point, and different numbers of leaves per fruit on fruit retention and fruit development in `More-Spur McIntosh'/Malling 7 (M.7) apple trees [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.]. Removal of the bourse shoot tip increased fruit retention, whereas BA thinned fruit regardless of whether shoot tips were removed or not. There was no interaction between BA application and shoot tipping. BA thinned fruit only when one leaf per fruit was on a girdled small fruiting branch, but not when leaf number per fruit was two or greater. Fruit weight and soluble solids concentration increased dramatically with increasing leaf number per fruit. BA reduced fruit growth rate when <16 leaves per fruit were present on the girdled branches between 3 and 7 days after treatment, but it did not affect fruit growth rate when 32 leaves per fruit were on the girdled branches. Increasing leaf number also increased viable seed number per fruit while decreasing the number of aborted seeds, but it had no effect on the number of total seeds per fruit. BA reduced the number of viable seeds per fruit only when the number of leaves per fruit was less than four. Results suggest that BA thins apple fruit mainly by reducing carbohydrates available to developing fruitlets. Chemical name used: N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purine-6-amine [benzyladenine (BA)].

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Aroma and flavor characters of `Gala' apples [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf. `Gala'] were identified by 10 trained panelists. A vocabulary of 13 aroma descriptors and 16 flavor descriptors were used to characterize changes in controlled atmosphere (CA) and air, or regular atmosphere (RA) storage over 20 weeks. When compared with RA storage, the intensity of fruity (pear, banana, and strawberry) and floral descriptors decreased after 10 weeks in CA for whole and cut fruit aroma and flavor. During the entire storage period under CA, aroma of cut apples retained high vegetative and citrus characters but had a less intense anise aroma. Sourness and astringency were significantly higher for CA-stored apples, and sweetness was significantly lower. A musty note was perceived in whole apples stored in CA for 20 weeks. Aroma of whole fruit stored for 16 weeks in CA followed by 4 weeks in RA was higher in fruitiness, banana, floral, and anise characters when compared with apples stored 20 weeks in CA. There was no difference between fruit stored in CA followed by RA versus CA stored apples for flavor and aroma of cut fruit. Changes in descriptor ratings during storage are discussed in relation to gas chromatography and olfactometry data obtained with the Osme method.

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Container-grown `Delicious', `Golden Delicious', `Braeburn', `Fuji' and `Royal Gala' apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] trees, on Malling 9 (M.9) rootstock, were subjected to a range of different maximum/minimum air temperature regimes for up to 80 days after full bloom (DAFB) in controlled environments to investigate the effects of temperature on fruit expansion, final fruit weight, and fruit maturation. Fruit expansion rates were highly responsive to temperature with those at a mean of 20 °C being ≈10 times greater than those at a mean of 6 °C. All cultivars exhibited the same general response although `Braeburn' consistently showed higher expansion rates at all temperatures compared with lowest rates for `Golden Delicious' and intermediate rates for both `Delicious' and `Fuji'. The duration of cell division, assessed indirectly by measuring expansion rate, appeared to be inversely related to mean temperature (i.e., prolonged under cooler conditions). Subsequently, fruit on trees from the coolest controlled temperature treatment showed greater expansion rates when transferred to the field and smaller differences in fruit size at harvest than would have been expected from the measured expansion rates under the cool treatment. Nonetheless, mean fruit weight from warm postbloom treatments was up to four times greater at harvest maturity than that from cool temperature treatments. Postbloom temperature also markedly affected fruit maturation. Fruit from warm postbloom temperature conditions had a higher soluble solids concentration, more yellow background color, lower flesh firmness, and greater starch hydrolysis than fruit from cooler temperatures.

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`Granny Smith' apples [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] were harvested in two seasons and stored at 0 °C air storage with no pretreatment (control), after heating for 4 d at 38 °C, or after treating for 16 hours at 20 °C with 1 μL·L-1 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP). The effects of the two treatments on superficial scald development were consistent over both seasons. Scald began to appear after 8 weeks in control fruit, after 16 weeks in heated fruit but not on 1-MCP treated fruit. α-Farnesene accumulation and oxidation were slower in the skin of heated than in control fruit, and almost entirely absent in 1-MCP treated fruit. The activities of five antioxidant enzymes, ascorbate peroxidase, catalase, glutathione reductase, peroxidase and superoxide dismutate, were measured at two-week intervals in the apple peel, quantitatively as total activity and qualitatively by isozyme analysis. Enzyme activities either increased or remained stable during 16 weeks of storage, except for superoxide dismutase activity, which decreased. Ascorbate oxidase activity was higher in heated than control apples and there was an additional peroxidase isozyme present in activity gels. The activities of antioxidant enzymes were lower in 1-MCP treated fruit except for catalase during the first month of storage. Lipid soluble antioxidant activity was higher in 1-MCP treated fruit than the fruit of the other treatments, and water soluble antioxidant activity was higher in both treatments than in control fruit during the time that scald was developing in control apples. Both free and total phenol contents in the peel fluctuated during storage but no consistent trend was detected. The differences in enzyme activity and antioxidant content of the peel of 1-MCP and heated apples may play a role in preventing or delaying the appearance of superficial scald.

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A new chlorophyll fluorescence (F) sensor system called FIRM (fluorescence interactive response monitor) was developed that measures F at low irradiance. This system can produce a theoretical estimate of Fo at zero irradiance for which we have coined a new fluorescence term, Fα. The ability of Fα to detect fruit and vegetable low-O2 stress was tested in short-term (4-day) studies on chlorophyll-containing fruit [apple (Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.), pear (Pyrus communis L.), banana (Musa ×paradisiaca L.), kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa C.S. Liang & A.R. Ferguson), mango (Mangifera indica L.), and avocado (Persea americana Mill.)] and vegetables (cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. Capitata Group), green pepper (Capsicum annuum L. Grossum Group), iceberg and romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.)). In all of these fruit and vegetables, Fα was able to indicate the presence of low-O2 stress. As the O2 concentration dropped below threshold values of 0 to 1.4 kPa, depending on the product, the Fα value immediately and dramatically increased. At the end of the short-term study, O2 was increased above the threshold level, whereupon Fα returned to approximately prestressed values. A 9-month study was undertaken with `Summerland McIntosh' apple fruit to determine if storing the fruit at 0.9 kPa O2, the estimated low O2 threshold value determined from Fα, would benefit or damage fruit quality, compared with threshold + 0.3 kPa (1.2 kPa O2) and the lowest recommended CA (1.5 kPa O2). After 9 months, the threshold treatment (0.9 kPa) had the highest firmness, lowest concentration of fermentation volatiles (ethanol, acetaldehyde, ethyl acetate) and lowest total disorders. Sensory rating for off-flavor, flavor and preference indicated no discernible differences among the three treatments.

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