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Mung Hwa Yoo, Youn Jung Kwon, Ki-Cheol Son and Stanley J. Kays

Foliage plants of Hedera helix L. (english ivy), Spathiphyllum wallisii Regal (peace lily), Syngonium podophyllum Schott. (nephthytis), and Cissus rhombifolia Vahl. (grape ivy) were evaluated for their ability to remove two indoor volatile organic air pollutants, benzene and toluene. Removal was monitored when the aerial portion of plants was exposed singly to 1 μL·L-1 or to 0.5 μL·L-1 of each gas in a closed environment over 6-hour periods during the day and the night. Selected physiological processes were assessed before and immediately after treatment to determine the effect of the gases on the plants. The effectiveness of plants in the removal of air pollutant(s) varied with species, time of day, and whether the gases were present singly or as a mixture. When exposed to a single gas, S. wallisii, S. podophyllum, and H. helix displayed higher removal efficiencies (ng·m-3·h-1·cm-2 leaf area) of either gas than C. rhombifolia during the day. The efficiency of removal changed when both gases were present; H. helix was substantially more effective in the removal of either benzene or toluene than the other species, with the removal of toluene more than double that of benzene. When exposed singly, the removal of both compounds was generally higher during the day than during the night for all species; however, when present simultaneously, H. helix removal efficiency during the night was similar to the day indicating that stomatal diffusion for english ivy was not a major factor. The results indicated an interaction between gases in uptake by the plant, the presence of different avenues for uptake, and the response of a single gas was not necessarily indicative of the response when other gases are present. Changes in the rates of photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, and transpiration before and after exposure indicated that the volatiles adversely affected the plants and the effects were not consistent across species and gases. Deleterious effects of volatile pollutants on indoor plants may be critical in their efficacy in improving indoor air quality and warrant further study.

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Craig S. Charron, Daniel J. Cantliffe, Raymond M. Wheeler, Ara Manukian and Robert R. Heath

A system and methodology were developed for the nondestructive qualitative and quantitative analysis of volatile emissions from hydroponically grown `Waldmann's Green' leaf lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). Photosynthetic photon flux (PPF), photoperiod, and temperature were automatically controlled and monitored in a growth chamber modified for the collection of plant volatiles. The lipoxygenase pathway products (Z)-3-hexenal, (Z)-3-hexenol, and (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate were emitted by lettuce plants after the transition from the light period to the dark period. The volatile collection system developed in this study enabled measurements of volatiles emitted by intact plants, from planting to harvest, under controlled environmental conditions.

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Meny Benady, Amots Hetzroni, James E. Simon and Bruce Bordelon

We have developed an electronic sensor (“sniffer”) that measures fruit ripeness rapidly and nondestructively by measuring the aromatic volatiles that are naturally emitted by ripening fruit. In this study, we evaluated the potential of using the fruit ripeness sniffer in the quality sorting of blueberries. Blueberries were first visually classified into four distinct ripeness classes: unripe; half-ripe; ripe; and over-ripe and quantitatively measured for color, firmness, TSS, and sugar acid ratio. Ripeness classification accuracy with the sniffer matched or exceeded that of all other ripeness indices. The sniffer differentiated unripe, ripe and over-ripe berries within one second, but could not distinguish between the unripe and half-ripe class. Detection of l-2 damaged or 1-2 soft fruit spiked within a large container of 24-37 high quality ripe fruit was also achieved, but required a response time of 10 seconds. Electronic sensing of aromatic volatiles may be a useful new technique in the grading and sorting of blueberries.

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Ali A. Ramin, P. Gordon Braun, Robert K. Prange and John M. DeLong

Biofumigation by volatiles of Muscodor albus Worapong, Strobel & W.M. Hess, an endophytic fungus, was investigated for the biological control of three postharvest fungi, Botrytis cinerea Pers., Penicillium expansum Link, and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib) de Bary, and three bacteria, Erwinia carotovora pv. carotovora (Jones) Bergey et al., Pseudomonas fluorescens Migula (isolate A7B), and Escherichia coli (strain K12). Bacteria and fungi on artificial media in petri dishes were exposed to volatiles produced by M. albus mycelium growing on rye seeds in sealed glass 4-L jars with or without air circulation for up to 48 hours. The amount of dry M. albus–rye seed culture varied from 0.25 to 1.25 g·L–1 of jar volume. Fan circulation of volatiles in jars increased efficacy and 0.25 g·L–1 with fan circulation was sufficient to kill or suppress all fungi and bacteria after 24 and 48 hours, respectively. Two major volatiles of M. albus, isobutyric acid (IBA) and 2-methyl-1-butanol (MB), and one minor one, ethyl butyrate (EB), varied in their control of the same postharvest fungi and bacteria. Among the three fungi, IBA killed or suppressed S. sclerotiorum, B. cinerea, and P. expansum at 40, 25, and 45 μL·L –1, respectively. MB killed or suppressed S. sclerotiorum, B. cinerea, and P. expansum at 75, 100, and 100 μL·L –1, respectively. EB was only able to kill S. sclerotiorum at 100 μL·L –1. Among the three bacteria, IBA killed or suppressed E. coli (K12), E. carotovora pv. carotovora, and P. fluorescens at 5, 12.5, and 12.5 μL·L–1, respectively. MB killed or suppressed E. coli (K12), E. carotovora pv. carotovora, and P. fluorescens at 100, 75, and 100 μL·L–1, respectively. EB did not control growth of the three bacteria. This study demonstrates the need for air circulation in M. albus, MB, and IBA treatments to optimize the efficacy of these potential postharvest agents of disease control.

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J. Song, N. Rubinstein and R.M Beaudry

Banana [Musa sp.9AAA group0, Cavendish] fruit are climacteric in nature, undergoing a rapid rise in ethylene production and respiration. Ethylene production can peak within 8 h of a detectable rise in production and respiration peaks within 24 h. These rapid changes permit precise timing for events related to or dependent on ethylene presence. Using rapid analytical methodology, we investigated the dynamic changes in volatile biosynthesis and its relation to other ripening parameters. Ungassed, mature-green banana fruit were placed individually at 23°C in flow through glass chambers. Ethylene production, respiration, chlorophyll fluorescence, skin color (hue angle) and volatile production were monitored. The climacteric rise and subsequent fall in ethylene production was found to be complete within 20 h. The respiratory rise peaked 20 h after the initial rise in ethylene production. The onset of the decline in chlorophyll fluorescence, skin color (hue angle) were coincident with the rise of ethylene and respiration, which indicated that the chlorophyll fluorescence may be used to monitor the banana fruit ripening. Volatile production was found to begin ≈60 h after the onset of the ethylene climacteric, peaking 3 to 4 days later. The ester precursors butyric acid and 3-methylbutanol were used in feeding experiments at different developmental stages for pulp and peel. Full ester-forming capacity was found to exist well before the onset of volatile biosynthesis. There were also different biosynthetic capacities for pulp and peel. Low aroma production in pre-climacteric fruit is apparently limited by the supply of precursors, which may be derived from the ethylene-induced enhancement of fruit respiratory metabolism.

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K. Yu, T.R. Hamilton-Kemp, D.D. Archbold, M. Newman and B.E. Langlois

Strawberry fruit were inoculated with the human pathogen E. coli O157:H7, and the bacteria were recovered from the fruit over a 3-day period of storage at room temperature. The bacterial population was maintained on fruit when the inoculation level was relatively high and increased when the inoculation level was low. The volatile metabolites of E. coli O157:H7 growing on plate count agar (PCA) and on inoculated strawberry fruit were collected by a headspace trapping system and analyzed by gas chromatography and GC-mass spectrometry. E. coli O157:H7 grown on PCA produced a variety of volatile compounds including indole as a major component and a series of methyl ketones. A nonpathogenic E. coli also produced these compounds. However, there was not an appreciable amount of indole collected from E. coli O157:H7 inoculated strawberry fruit as compared to the large amount of volatiles produced by the fruit. Strawberry fruit were able to capture over 95% of the vapor phase indole fed to them from a neat source.

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J. Song, M.S. Tian, D.R. Dilley and R.M. Beaudry

Aroma production by apple fruit is an important quality criterion and has been found to be a fruit-ripening-related process. 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP), an effective ethylene action inhibitor, was used to study the relationship between volatile biosynthesis, ethylene action, and fruit ripening in `Golden Delicious' apple fruit. Pre-climacteric fruit were treated with 1-MCP vapors at a concentration of 500 parts per billion (v/v) at 23°C. 1-MCP prevented the climacteric rise of ethylene production, respiration, and volatile production, while untreated fruits developed typical climacteric changes in ethylene production, respiration and volatile production. Applying ethylene at 15–20 parts per million for 24 hr 11 days after 1-MCP treatment could not overcome the effect of 1-MCP, suggesting that 1-MCP inhibited ethylene action irreversibly. Interestingly, when 1-MCP-treated tissue were fed butanol and butyric acid, they converted these compounds to their corresponding esters butylacetate and butylbutanoate. Thus precursor supply is apparently limiting and appears to be ethylene-dependent.

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Denys J. Charles, Amots Hetzroni and James E. Simon

Recent developments in electronic odor-sensing technology has opened the opportunity for non-destructive, rapid, and objective assessment of food quality. We have developed an electronic sensor (electronic sniffer) that measures aromatic volatiles that are naturally emitted by fruits and fruit products. The ability of our sniffer to detect contamination in fruit juice was tested using tomato juice as a model system. Tomato juice was extracted from cultivar Rutgers and divided into eight glass jars of 300 g juice each. The jars were divided into two treatments: the control jars contained tomato juice mixed with 0.15% sorbic acid to suppress microbial growth, and the experimental jars contained only tomato juice. All the jars were placed open, on a counter top in the laboratory for 8 days. The juice was tested daily with the electronic sniffer and for pH. The total volatiles in the headspace of the juice was extracted on alternating days via dynamic headspace method using charcoal traps, analyzed by gas chromatography, and confirmed by GC/mass spectometry. The results indicate that the sniffer is able to detect differences between the two treatments 4 days after the tomato juice was exposed to ambient atmosphere. The electronic sniffer output for the control juice showed a monotonous decline, while the output for the experimental juice exhibited a sharp incline after day four. This sensor output correlated well with the total volatiles.

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Kil Sun Yoo, Leonard M. Pike and Brian K. Hamilton

A simple and fast method for measuring low boiling point (LBP) volatile terpenoids in carrots (Daucus carota L.) was developed by using a direct headspace sampling technique. Seven LBP terpenoid compounds were separated with high sensitivity and consistency via gas chromatography. High boiling point terpenoids above terpinolene were not well characterizable. Standard compounds showed highly linear responses up to 10 μg.g-1, with a detection limit of 0.01 μg.g-1. We confirmed that high α- and β-pinene and/or total terpenoids contributed to harsh or oily flavors. Up to 40 samples can be analyzed in an 8-h day using this method, compared to 10 samples using previous methods.

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Jun Song and Fritz Bangerth

Changes in the profile of aroma volatiles during ripening and after ethylene treatment in apple fruit have revealed a close relationship exists between ethylene production and the timing and magnitude of volatile synthesis. Therefore, AVG (ethylene biosynthesis inhibitor) was used to study the relationship between volatile biosynthesis and metabolic processes affected by ethylene in apple fruits. AVG-treated fruit were stored either for 1 month at 2C in air or 5 months in ULO condition. During the post-storage ripening, the fruits were exposed to 50 μl·liter–1 of ethylene at least 12 h/day. Aroma production was determined at 20C. Total volatile compound production by AVG-treated fruit was much lower than that of untreated fruit. A significant increase in the production of most aroma volatile after 1 month storage in air was induced by ethylene treatment to AVG-treated fruits. I was noted that branched-chain volatile, such as 2-methylbutylacetate, which originates from branched-chain amino acids, has increased prior to butylacetate and hexylacetate, which are derived from fatty acids. Ethylene treatment was unable to stimulate the production of straight-chain volatile compounds following the 5 months of ULO storage. These results are consistent with observations suggesting apple fruit lose their sensitivity to ethylene after long ULO storage.