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William D. Wolk, O.L. Lau, G.H. Neilsen, and Brian G. Drought

A study was undertaken to identify key factors associated with storage disorders in three commercially important apple cultivars in British Columbia and to determine how early in the season associations could be measured. Fruit mass, density, and concentrations of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, and dry matter were determined for `McIntosh', `Spartan', and `Golden Delicious' apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh) from ≈30 commercial orchards 9, 6, 3, and 0 weeks before harvest. Storage samples were collected at commercial harvest and evaluated for the development of internal breakdown (`McIntosh' and `Spartan') or bitter pit (`Golden Delicious') after 4 and 6 months of 0 °C air storage. Mass and [Ca] and the mass/[Ca] and [K]/[Ca] ratios were the factors most often significantly correlated with storage disorders within each year for all three cultivars. Correlations were as frequently significant 6 and 3 weeks before harvest as they were at harvest. Mass of `McIntosh' and `Spartan' was the only variable consistently related with breakdown in all 3 years of the study. There were no variables with a consistent relationship to bitter pit in `Golden Delicious'. Fruit [Ca] was associated with the relative levels of disorders within years but could not be associated with specific levels of disorders across all years.