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Phillip Joy, Rajasekaran Lada, Cameron Fullerton, Brian Williams, and Angus Ells

The quick-frozen (QF) cut and peel processing industry is growing and has significant economical importance. Crack development formation (CDF) and enhancement is a major obstacle in QF carrot processing since it lowers product quality, profitability and consumer preference. Studies were initiated to determine the role of edaphic factors on crack development. Carrot samples (var. Sugarsnax) were collected from nine different fields before processing, after processing, and after 8 weeks of -8 °C freezer storage. Samples were tested for the percent cracked; the length, width, and depth of cracks; and membrane stability using electrical conductivity per gram (EC/g). Membrane injury index (MII) was also analyzed on freezer-stored samples. Very few cracks and low EC readings were observed in treatments prior to processing, with the exception of field VC38. Samples taken at the end of the processing line had a higher percentage of visual cracks and significant differences were found between fields in EC/g and length, but not in width or depth of cracks. Freezer-stored samples had significant differences in all parameters, including EC/g, MII, crack length, width, and depth, indicating that the length of freezer storage time can increase the potential for crack development. Samples from V49 cracked heavily during 8 weeks in freezer storage compared to the samples from other fields. A significant interaction between field and time was also observed in processed samples, indicating that CDF is dependent on both field parameters and freezer storage time. Significant differences were observed among different fields in terms of crack morphology, especially after 8 weeks in freezer storage.

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Milton E. McGiffen Jr. and Edmund J. Ogbuchiekwe

Poor root color is a recurring problem in carrot (Daucus carota L.) production. Consumers prefer dark orange carrots that are high in carotene. However, unfavorable environmental conditions and certain production practices can lead to light orange roots with low carotene content. Growers sometimes refer to this as “white root.” No one has clearly established the causes or cures for this disorder. Several environmental factors are known to affect the color of carrots, but to date there is no practical treatment. High-density planting often reduces carotene content. Field studies were conducted in the 1995-96 and 1996-97 winter growing seasons to determine if foliar applications of ethephon would improve carrot color, carotene content, and yield. Carotene content and root color increased as the number of applications or the amount of ethephon applied with each application increased. Root weight was not significantly affected.

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K.R. Sanderson and S.D. MacKinnon

Twelve carrot (Daucus carota) cultivars were evaluated at two sites in 1997 and 13 carrot cultivars were evaluated at one site in 1998 for their potential use as cut and peel carrots. The cultivars were evaluated for total yield, marketable yield and root characteristics. Yields were quite variable with the highest yielding cultivars having the shortest root length. Of the cultivars tested, `Presto' produced high marketable yields, root diameters and root weights, however, it was very short. `Indiana' produced consistent yields and stand with a good root length. `Bolero', `Presto' and Indiana' were the best performing cultivars for cut and peel production in Prince Edward Island, Canada.