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Randolph Beaudry and Arthur Cameron

The steady-state oxygen concentration at which blueberry fruit began to exhibit anaerobic carbon dioxide production. (i.e., the RQ breakpoint) was determined for fruit held at 0, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 C using a modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) system. As fruit temperature decreased, the RQ breakpoint occurred at lower oxygen concentrations. The decrease in the RQ breakpoint oxygen is thought to be due to a decreasing oxygen demand of the cooler fruit.

The decrease in oxygen demand and concomitant decrease in oxygen flux would have resulted in a decrease in the difference in the oxygen concentrate on between the inside and outside of the fruit and thus decreased the minimum amount of oxygen tolerated. The implications on MAP strategies will be discussed.

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Randolph M. Beaudry, Arthur C. Cameron, Ahmad Shirazi, and Diana L. Dostal-Lange

Highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L. `Bluecrop') fruit sealed in low-density polyethylene packages were incubated at 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25C until O2 and CO2 levels in the package reached a steady state. A range of steady-state O2 partial pressures (1 to 18 kPa) was created by placing a range of fruit weights within packages having a constant surface area and film thickness. The steady-state O2 partial pressure in packages containing the same weight of fruit decreased as temperature increased, indicating the respiratory rate rose more rapidly (i.e., had a greater sensitivity to temperature) than O2 transmission through the film. Steady-state O2 and CO2 partial pressures were used to calculate rates of O2 uptake. CO2 Production. and the respiratory quotient (RO). The effects of temperature and 02 partial pressure on O2 uptake and CO2 production and the RQ were characte∼zed. The steady-state O, partial pressure at which the fruit began to exhibit anaerobic CO2 production (the RQ breakpoint) increased with increasing temperature, which implies that blueberry fruit can be stored at lower O2 partial pressures when stored at lower temperatures.

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Arthur C. Cameron, Randolph M. Beaudry, Nigel H. Banks, and Mark V. Yelanich

A mathematical model was developed to characterize the interaction of fruit O2 uptake, steady-state O2 partial pressures in modified-atmosphere (MA) packages ([O2]pkg), and film permeability to O2 (Po 2) from previously published data for highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L. `Bluecrop') fruit held between 0 and 25C. O2 uptake in nonlimiting O2 (Ro 2 max,T) and the [O2]pkg at which O2 uptake was half-maximal (K½ T) were both exponentially related to temperature. The activation energy of 02 uptake was less at lower [O2]pkg and temperature. The predicted activation energy for permeation of O2 through the film ( \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{E}_{\mathrm{a}}^{\mathrm{P_{\mathrm{o}_{2}}}}\) \end{document} kJ·mol-1) required to maintain close-to-optimum [O2]pkg across the range of temperatures between 0 and 25C was ≈ 60 kJ·mol-1. Packages in which diffusion was mediated through polypropylene or polyethylene would have values \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{E}_{\mathrm{a}}^{\mathrm{P_{\mathrm{o}_{2}}}}\) \end{document} of ≈ 50 and 40 kJ·mol-1, respectively, and would have correspondingly greater tendencies for [O2]pkg to decrease to excessively low levels with an increase in temperature. Packages that depend on pores for permeation would have an \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{E}_{\mathrm{a}}^{\mathrm{P_{\mathrm{o}_{2}}}}\) \end{document} of <5 kJ·mol-1. Our procedure predicted that, if allowed to attain steady-state conditions, packages with pores and optimized to 2 kPa O2 at 0C would become anaerobic with as little as a 5C increase in temperature. The results are discussed in relation to the risk of temperature abuse during handling and marketing of MA packaged fruit and strategies to avoid induction of anaerobiosis.

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Christopher D. Gran and Randolph M. Beaudry

The oxygen partial pressure associated with the respiratory quotient (RQ) breakpoint (ie., lower oxygen limit) was determined for fruits of several apple cultivars stored at 0°C. Fruits were sealed in low density polyethylene pouches of various thicknesses and known permeability to determine O2 uptake, CO2 production, and respiratory quotients (RQ) at various O2 partial pressures. There were differences in the shape of O2 uptake versus steady state O2 curves between cultivars. While some cultivars showed steady declines in respiration rate from 8 kPa O2 to < 1 kPa, other cultivars showed no decline in respiration until O2 levels fell below 3 to 4 kPa. Fruits having elevated RQ values had greater levels of headspace ethanol in the polyethylene pouches, which confirmed anaerobic respiration. The lower oxygen limit ranged from a low of approximately 0.75 kPa for cultivars Northern Spy and Law Rome to high of 1.5 kPa for McIntosh.

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Randolph M. Beaudry

Blueberry fruit were sealed in 0.00254 cm (1 mil) thick, 200 cm2 low density polyethylene pouches, which, in turn, were sealed in containers continually purged with gas mixtures containing 0, 20, 40 or 60 kPa CO2 and held at 15C. Sampling the gas composition of the enclosed package permitted accurate determination of O2 uptake, CO2 production and the respiratory quotient (RQ) despite the high background CO2 levels. O2 uptake was minimally affected by the CO2 treatments. CO2 production, however, increased at CO2 partial pressures over 20 kPa, resulting in an elevated RQ at 40 and 60 kPa CO2. Raising the CO2 partial pressure caused the fruit to become more sensitive to lowered O2, raising the O2 partial pressure associated with the RQ breakpoint.