External and Internal Factors Influence Fruit Tolerance to Low-oxygen Atmospheres

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Fruits of ‘Bing’ cherry (Prunus avium L.), ‘Red Jim’ nectarine (Prunuspersica L.), ‘Angeleno’ plum (Prunus salicina, L.), ‘Yellow Newtown’ and ‘Granny Smith’ apples (Malus domestica Borkh.), and ‘20th Century’ pear (Pyrus serotina L.) were treated with 0.25% or 0.02% O2 (balance N2) at 0, 5, or 10C to study the effects of these insecticidal low-O2 atmospheres on their postharvest physiology and quality attributes. Development of alcoholic off-flavor was associated with ethanol accumulation, which was the most common and important detrimental effect that limited fruit tolerance to low O2. Relatively higher storage temperature (T), higher respiration rate (R), and greater resistance to gas diffusion (r) enhanced while relatively higher O2 concentration (C) and higher soluble solids concentration (SSC) reduced off-flavor development. Using a SAS computer program to do multiple regression analysis with T, C, R, r, and SSC as variables, models were developed for prediction of fruit tolerance to insecticidal low-O, atmospheres. Comparison of fruit tolerances and published information on the times required to completely kill specific insects by O2 levels at or below 1% suggests that low-O2 atmospheres have a good potential for use as postharvest quarantine treatments for some fruits.

Dangyang Ke
Adel A. Kader
Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science