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Ji Gang Kim, Yaguang Luo, Robert A. Saftner and Kenneth C. Gross

Fresh-cut tissues are subjected to severe injury during preparation that leads to increased respiratory activity and quality deterioration. Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) has been used to maintain quality of fresh-cut produce, but O2 depletion and excessive CO2 accumulation can be injurious. This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of delayed packaging and MAP using two different oxygen transmission rate (OTR) films on quality maintenance and shelf stability of fresh-cut romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). Romaine lettuce leaves were cut, washed, dried, and placed for 0, 4, 8, and 12 hours at 5 °C in ambient air before packaging. Fresh-cut samples were placed into packages prepared from films having OTRs of 8.0 and 16.6 pmol·s-1·m-2·Pa-1, flushed with N2 to reach an initial headspace O2 level of 1.5 kPa O2, and stored at 5 °C for up to 14 days. Delayed packaging affected gas composition, fermentative volatile production, off-odor development, color, CO2 injury, and tissue electrolyte leakage. With increasing delay before packaging, fermentative volatile production, off-odor development, and CO2 injury progressively decreased and discoloration increased. The modified atmospheres obtained with 16.6 OTR film increased discoloration when present, and generally had less off-odor development and CO2 injury compared to MAP with 8.0 OTR film. Delayed packaging affected overall quality of fresh-cut romaine lettuce packaged with both films. A 12-hour delayed packaging into packages prepared from 8.0 OTR film maintained quality by inhibiting CO2 injury, off-odor development, and tissue electrolyte leakage. However, an 8-hour delayed packaging into packages prepared from 16.6 OTR film was better at maintaining the quality of fresh-cut romaine lettuce at 5 °C for 14 days. The results indicated that delayed packaging could be an alternative method to optimize or balance package O2 during suboptimal OTR film packaging conditions.

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Allan B. Woolf

`Hass' avocado (Persea americana Mill.) fruit were heat treated in water at 38 °C for 0 to 120 minutes, and stored at 0.5 °C for up to 28 days. After storage, fruit were ripened at 20 °C and their quality evaluated. External chilling injury (CI) developed during storage in nonheated fruit. Skin (exocarp) sectioning showed that browning developed from the base of the exocarp, and with longer storage, this browning moved outwards toward the epidermis. Longer durations of hot water treatment (HWT) progressively reduced CI; 60 minutes was the optimal duration that eliminated external CI, while best maintaining fruit quality. Concomitantly, electrolyte leakage of heated skin tissue increased ≈70% during storage, whereas electrolyte leakage of nonheated skin tissue increased ≈480% over the same period. Thus, significant protection was conferred by HWTs against low temperature damage to avocados and these effects are reflected in the morphology and physiology of the skin tissue.

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Shaoli Lu and Mark Rieger

One-year-old kiwifruit [Actinidia deliciosa (A. Chev.) C.F. Liang et R. Ferguson var. deliciosa] vines were grown under 8- and 16-hour photoperiods to study the influence of photoperiod on cold acclimation and determine the potential level of hardiness that young vines attain. Vines were acclimated by reducing growth chamber temperature at 2-week intervals, beginning at 31/20C (16 hours/8 hours) and ending with 15/5C after 8 weeks. Vines receiving an 8-hour photoperiod were more cold hardy than vines receiving a 16-hour photoperiod after 4 weeks of acclimation as determined by electrolyte leakage from stem tissues. Moreover, vines receiving an 8-hour photoperiod survived freezing at – 9C at the end of the 8-week acclimation period, whereas those receiving a 16-hour photoperiod were killed at – 6C. Vine survival and electrolyte leakage of sterns were highly correlated (r = – 0.79 to – 0.90).

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John M. Ruter

Temperatures producing heat damage in leaves of Ilex ×meserveae S.Y. Hu `Blue Prince' and Ilex rugosa × cornuta Lindl. & Paxt. `Mesdob' (China Boy) were evaluated using electrolyte leakage and chlorophyll fluorescence techniques. Whole leaves were exposed to temperatures from 30 to 65C for 30 minutes to determine critical midpoint heat-killing temperatures (TJ using electrolyte leakage techniques. The Tm for `Blue Prince' and `Mesdob' was 52.4 ± 0.lC and 53.8 ± 0.lC, respectively. Dark-adapted leaves were heated for 30 minutes in darkness at temperatures between 30 and 57C before chlorophyll fluorescence was measured. Initial (F0) and peak fluorescence measurements were higher at 54 and 55C for `Mesdob' than for `Blue Prince'. Cultivar had no effect on variable fluorescence (F,). Based on the Fv: Fo ratio, `Mesdob' was estimated to have a higher optimal plant growth temperature than `Blue Prince'. The physiologic data support the hypothesis that I. cornuta as a parent conferred heat tolerance to the interspecific hybrid in this study.

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Monte L. Nesbitt, Robert C. Ebel, Douglas Findley, Bryan Wilkins, Floyd Woods and David Himelrick

Containerized `Owari' satsuma mandarin (Citrus unshiu Marc.) on Poncirus trifoliata `Flying Dragon' rootstock were exposed to one of two acclimation regimes (cold acclimated and unacclimated) and frozen in a computer-controlled freezer to five different low temperatures. Whole plant survival was measured and compared to the results of four leaf and stem injury assays. Acclimating plants in growth chambers at 20 °C day and 10 °C night for 14 days, followed by 15 °C day and 4 °C night for 14 to 21 days resulted in an 81% and 80% increase in leaf and stem survival, respectively, when frozen to a low of -8 °C. Electrolyte leakage and phenolic leakage assays effectively detected changes in percent leaf survival, but the TTC stain assay, using leaf disks, did not. Stem survival was best predicted by the TTC assay, using the phloem as the indicator tissue for survival. Electrolyte leakage and phenolic leakage were also reliable assays for predicting stem survival, although survival percentages were different at the same electrolyte leakage values reported in other studies. The callus growth assay accurately predicted survival for cold acclimated satsuma mandarin stems only. Chemical name used: triphenyl tetrazolium chloride (TTC).

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J.S. Ebdon, R.A. Gagne and R.C. Manley

Turf loss from freezing injury results in costly reestablishment, especially with turfgrasses such as perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) having poor low-temperature tolerance. However, no studies have been conducted to investigate the relative importance of low-temperature tolerance and its contribution to turfgrass quality (performance) in northern climates. The objective of this research was to compare critical freezing thresholds (LT50) of 10 perennial ryegrass cultivars representing contrasting turf-quality types (five high- and five low-performance cultivars). Cultivar selection was based on turfgrass quality ranking (top and bottom five) from the 1997 National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) trial conducted at the Maine (Orono) location. Ten freeze-stress temperatures (-3 to -21 °C) and a nonfrozen control (5 °C) were applied to 5-month-old plants. Acclimated (AC) plant material maintained in an unheated polyhouse during the fall and winter in Massachusetts was compared to nonacclimated (NA) plant material (grown at 18 °C minimum in a greenhouse). Low-temperature tolerance was assessed using whole-plant survival and electrolyte leakage (EL). Estimates of LT50 were derived from fitted EL and survival curves using nonlinear regression. High-performance cultivars were able to tolerate significantly lower freeze-stress temperatures indicated by less EL and greater survival compared to low-performance cultivars. The EL method had good predictive capability for low-temperature survival. Acclimated tissues and high-performance cultivars had significantly flatter EL curves and lower mortality rates. These results underscore the importance of selecting cold-tolerant perennial ryegrass genotypes for adaptation to northern climates.

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Reeser C. Manley and Rita L. Hummel

Mefluidide, a synthetic plant growth regulator, has been reported to protect chilling-sensitive plants from chilling damage and enhance the freezing tolerance of certain winter-hardy herbaceous plants. The potential of mefluidide to enhance the freezing tolerance of nonhardened and dehardening cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. Capitata Group) leaf tissue was investigated. Mefluidide at 0 to 60 mg·L–1 was tested on `Brunswick' and `Golden Acre' cabbage in five experiments. Leaf tissue freezing tolerance was measured 3 to 9 days postapplication by electrolyte leakage assay. The interval between application and freeze testing had no effect on leaf freeze tolerance. The effect of mefluidide at low rates on leaf freeze tolerance was small and inconsistent. At 30 and 60 mg·L–1, leaf freeze tolerance was decreased consistently. Chemical name used: N-{2,4-dimethyl-5-[[trifluromethyl)sulfonyl]amino]phenyl}acetamide (mefluidide).

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Edna Pesis, Rosa Marinansky, Giora Zauberman and Yoram Fuchs

Prestorage treatment of avocado fruit (Persea americana Mill. cv. Fuerte) with a low-O2 atmosphere (3% O2 + 97% N2) for 24 hours at 17C, significantly reduced chilling injury (CI) symptoms after storage at 2C for 3 weeks. Fruit softening was also delayed by this treatment. The treated fruit had lower respiration and ethylene production rates during storage at 2C and subsequently at 17C. Electrolyte leakage was significantly lower in peel disks from treated fruit. Reducing power, expressed as total sulfhydryl groups, was higher in the peel and pulp of low-O2-treated fruit. The amount of peel chlorophyll was inversely correlated with the severity of CI symptoms.

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Jeffrey Anderson, Greg McCollum and Warren Roberts

Electrolyte leakage was used to quantify heat stress injury in `Early Calwonder' pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) leaf disks. Lethal temperatures were estimated from the midpoint of the sigmoidal response curve. An interaction between exposure temperature and duration was observed, with lethal temperatures decreasing linearly from 53 to 46C as exposure duration increased exponentially from 5 to 240 min. Exposure to two 7.5-min periods at 51.5C, interrupted by 4 hours at 21C, resulted in the same injury as a continuous 15-min exposure to 51.5C. Plants grown at 22/20C day/night cycles and held 24 hours at 38/30C had increased their heat tolerance by 3C, 51 to 54C; these plants reacclimated to 52C 48 hours after having been transferred back to 22/20C. Leaf disks acclimated significantly in vitro in 1 hour and were fully acclimated by 4 hours at 38C.

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Zhaolong Wang, Bingru Huang and Qingzhang Xu

Abscisic acid (ABA) is an important hormone regulating plant response to drought stress. The objective of this study was to investigate effects of exogenous ABA application on turf performance and physiological activities of kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) in response to drought stress. Plants of two kentucky bluegrass cultivars, `Brilliant' (drought susceptible) and `Midnight' (drought tolerant), were treated with ABA (100 μm) or water by foliar application and then grown under drought stress (no irrigation) or well-watered (irrigation on alternate days) conditions in a growth chamber. The two cultivars responded similarly to ABA application under both watering regimes. Foliar application of ABA had no effects on turf quality or physiological parameters under well-watered conditions. ABA application, however, helped maintain higher turf quality and delayed the quality decline during drought stress, compared to the untreated control. ABA-treated plants exposed to drought stress had higher cell membrane stability, as indicated by less electrolyte leakage of leaves, and higher photochemical efficiency, expressed as Fv/Fm, compared to untreated plants. Leaf water potential was not significantly affected, whereas leaf turgor pressure increased with ABA application after 9 and 12 d of drought. Osmotic adjustment increased with ABA application, and was sustained for a longer period of drought in `Midnight' than in `Brilliant'. The results suggested that exogenous ABA application improved turf performance during drought in both drought-sensitive and tolerant cultivars of kentucky bluegrass. This positive effect of ABA could be related to increased osmotic adjustment, cell turgor maintenance, and reduced damage to cell membranes and the photosynthetic system.