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Keiko Ishikawa, Shiho Sasaki, Hiroshi Matsufuji, and Osamu Nunomura

In order to evaluate the advantages of parthenocarpy in the breeding of Capsicum, we investigated the percentage of fruit set after emasculation or excision of styles, fruit size, and amounts of ß-carotene, capsaicinoids, and ascorbic acids of the seedless fruits of Capsicum annuum L. `Shishiroh' no. 562. Seedless fruits were induced from ≈80% of flower buds after emasculation or excision of styles. The levels of ß-carotene (44.07 μg·g-1), capsaicin (1.73 mg·g-1), and dihydrocapsaicin (1.12 mg·g-1) of mature seedless fruits were 10 times higher than those of seeded fruits. The amount of ascorbic acid, however, was at the same level (≈230 mg/100 g). The length of the seedless fruit was ≈50% smaller than that of the seeded fruit at 2 weeks after the flowering and decreased to 44% at mature stage.

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Rosa Marina Arvayo-Ortiz, Sergio Garza-Ortega, and Elhadi M. Yahia

Winter squash are grown in northwestern Mexico for export to distant markets. During transport, fruits deteriorate and develop fungal rots. Squash (Cucurbita maxima Duch. `Delica') was given hot-water dips at 50C for 0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 min and stored at 10 and 20C with 75% RH for 4, 8, and 12 weeks. The highest weight loss (11.3%) was in fruits without hot water treatment stored at 20C for 12 weeks—weight losses were 3.6%, 7.2%, and 10.2% in the 4-, 8-, and 12-week storage periods, respectively. At 10C, the weight losses were 3.4%, 6.8%, and 7.6% for the same periods, respectively. ß-carotene content increased from 36.2 to 54.2 mg/100 g after 4 and 8 weeks of storage, respectively, but declined to 42.8 mg/100 g after 12 weeks. Chlorophyll content decreased as temperature and storage period increased, changing from 16.7 to 10.8 mg·liter-1 at 10 and 20C and from 16.9 to 15.8 mg·liter-1 and 8.8 mg·liter-1 at 4, 8, and 12 weeks, respectively. Fruits had decay caused by Rhizopus and Aspergillus. Weight loss, ß-carotene and chlorophyll contents, and decay were not affected by length of hot-water treatment. General appearance was better in fruits stored at 10 than at 20C.

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D. Mark Hodges and Gene E. Lester

The consumption of netted muskmelons (Cucumis melo L. Reticulatus group) has raised health concerns due to pathogenic bacteria attaching to sites on the netted rind inaccessible to sanitation. The purpose of this study was to compare 1) the enzymic and nonenzymic antioxidant capacity between representative cultivars of netted muskmelon and both green- and orange-fleshed honey dew muskmelons during storage for 17 days and 2) levels of non-nutrient phytochemicals between these genotypes in consideration of ultimately substituting netted orange-fleshed with non-netted orange-fleshed muskmelon. Netted muskmelon (`Cruiser'), green-fleshed (`Honey Brew'), and orange-fleshed (`Orange Dew') muskmelons were harvested in Texas at the beginning (21 May) and at the end (11 June) of the production season in 2004. Fruit were analyzed immediately (day 0) or stored simulating retail conditions for 7 or 14 days at 7 °C and 95% ± 2% relative humidity plus 3 days at 21 °C. Both `Orange Dew' and `Honey Brew' non-netted cultivars evinced similar and less lipid peroxidation, and hence postharvest senescence, during the 17-day storage period than the netted muskmelon `Cruiser'. In comparison with `Cruiser', `Orange Dew' generally exhibited higher concentrations of ß-carotene and phenolics and, with few exceptions, higher activities of the antioxidant enzymes ascorbate peroxidase (AsPX), monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR), dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR), catalase (CAT), guaiacol peroxidase (POX), and superoxide dismutase (SOD). Higher AsPX and SOD activities in both `Orange Dew' and `Honey Brew' appear to confer a greater resistance to lipid peroxidation in these muskmelon genotypes than to the netted `Cruiser'. `Orange Dew' also appears to be a healthier food choice not only due to its lack of a netted rind which could potentially harbour human illness-related pathogens, but also that it is superior to both `Cruiser' and `Honey Brew' in overall beta-carotene and phenolic levels.

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Judith Zambrano and Willian Materano

Mango fruits (Mangifera indica L.) were harvested at the preclimacteric stage. Fruits were immersed in 38, 42, 46, 50, and 54°C heated water for 30, 60, and 45 min prior to storage at 5°C for 2, 4, or 6 weeks in carton boxes. After storage, they were kept at 20°C. Fruits were evaluated for pulp color, total soluble solids, titrable acidity, ß-carotene content, reducing sugars and visible symptoms of chilling injury. Heated water had no significant effect on pulp color parameters (lightness, hue, and chroma). Soluble solids concentration, ß-carotene content and reducing sugars were higher in heated than in nonheated fruit after ripening. The chilling index was three-fold lower in treated than nontreated fruit. During storage and after removal at 20°C, hot-water-treated fruits ripened faster than nontreated fruits. Results of this study indicate that mango tolerance to chilling temperatures may increase after prestorage heat treatments.

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D.R. Rudell, J.P. Mattheis, X. Fan, and J.K. Fellman

Effects of artificial ultraviolet-visible light and methyl jasmonate (MJ) treatment on `Fuji' apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] fruit peel anthocyanin, phenolic, carotenoid, and chlorophyll production were examined using tristimulus color analysis and reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography. Anthocyanin synthesis was enhanced by light and MJ treatment. Chlorogenic acid and most cyanidin, quercetin, and phloretin glycosides increased with MJ treatment concentration. Light alone also promoted increased production of most of these compounds. Production of catechin, (-)epicatechin, quercetin, and quercetrin was not enhanced by either light or MJ treatment. Light and MJ enhanced ß-carotene and chlorophyll b, synthesis but not xanthophyll or chlorophyll a synthesis. The chlorophyll a/b ratio decreased with MJ dosage. Results suggest MJ may provide a viable means of enhancing apple fruit coloration and other photoprotective mechanisms. Chemical name used: methyl 3-oxo-2-(2-pentenyl)cyclopentane-1-acetate (methyl jasmonate).

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Parthiban Valnaickenpalayam Kumaresan, Prakasam Velappan, Prabakar Kuppusami, and Thangaraju Muthu

Carrot is a rich source of nutrients. Carrots contains carotene and lycopene, which gives bright color to the roots. The quality of the carrots was assessed based on the carotene, lycopene, and other biochemical constituents such as sugars, starch, and protein. To study the effect of various isolates of the Erwinia carotovora var. carotovora on the above biochemical constituents, the pathogens were inoculated and the contents were analyzed separately at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 days after inoculation. The contents of ß-carotene increased significantly due to all the three isolates of the pathogen and the Coimbatore isolate recorded highest of 36.03%. The same trend was also observed in the lycopene content, with 93.55% increase over control. The contents of total and reducing sugars were found to significantly increase due to inoculation with the pathogen. The starch content showed a decreasing trend in all the isolates tested. The maximum reduction of 62.98% was observed in the roots inoculated with Coimbatore isolate. The protein content showed a decreasing trend up to 5th day of inoculation, and further reduction of about 25.45% was recorded with Coimbatore isolate on the 5th day. The total phenol content in the roots of carrot decreased significantly, and reached the least on 5th day due to the infection by all the three isolates and the maximum reduction of 22.79% was observed in roots treated with Coimbatore isolate.

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Nihal Rajapakse

Numerous recent epidemiological studies have reconfirmed the old wisdom that consumption of fruits and vegetables play an important role in maintaining a healthy life. As a result, the role of fruits and vegetables in preventing the onset of chronic diseases is being established in the wake of epidemic-level health problems. The majority of evidence links various antioxidant phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables to the reduction in chronic diseases. Various methods are being investigated to enhance functional phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables, but, our knowledge on how these methods affect functionally important phytochemicals is relatively limited at this point. Environmental factors have been shown to affect certain phytochemicals and we are investigating if changing the spectral irradiance and composition in the growing environment can improve functional phytochemicals in food crops. In the present work, we investigated the role of irradiance on functionally important phytochemicals in selected lettuce (green and red) and tomato cultivars. Preliminary results show that in lettuce, high irradiance (500 vs. 250 μmol·m-2·s-1) increased total phenolic content, anthocyanin content, red coloration, and over all antioxidant capacity. Irradiance levels used in this study did not affect functional phytochemical levels in tomato fruit. High irradiance decreased the ß-carotene content in lettuce cultivars, but lycopene levels in tomato were not affected by irradiance.

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Dean A. Kopsell, David E. Kopsell, Mark G. Lefsrud, Joanne Curran-Celentano, and Laura E. Dukach

Green leafy vegetables are important sources of dietary carotenoids, and members of Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala rank highest for reported levels of lutein and β-carotene. Twenty-three leafy B. oleracea cultigens were field grown under similar fertility over two separate years and evaluated for leaf lutein and β-carotene accumulation. Choice of B. oleracea cultigen and year significantly affected carotenoid levels. Lutein concentrations ranged from a high of 13.43 mg per 100 g fresh weight (FW) for B. oleracea var. acephala `Toscano' to a low of 4.84 mg/100 g FW for B. oleracea var. acephala 343-93G1. β-carotene accumulations ranged from a high of 10.00 mg/100 g FW for B. oleracea var. acephala `Toscano' to a low of 3.82 mg/100 g FW for B. oleracea var. acephala 30343-93G1. Carotenoid concentrations were significantly higher in year 2 than in year 1, but rank order among the cultigens for both lutein and ß-carotene did not change between the years. During each year, there were high correlations between leaf carotenoid and chlorophyll pigments. Under similar growing conditions, choice of B. oleracea cultigen will influence carotenoid accumulation, and this may affect the health benefits of consuming these leafy green vegetable crops.