Inderscience Publishers

Low oxygen pre-storage treatment is effective in reducing chilling injuries of deciduous fruit

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Apple and pear fruits stored at low temperatures may suffer from chilling injury symptoms, caused by oxidative stress. Application of a low-oxygen (LO
2
) atmosphere (0.5%) for 10 d at 20°C or 500 ppb 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) at 20°C for 24 h, prior to cold storage at 0°C, were equally effective in reducing superficial scald on ‘Granny Smith’ apples, after six months of cold storage at 0°C plus seven days at 20°C. Compared to untreated control fruit, the LO
2
and 1-MCP-treated fruit produced less ethylene,
a
-farnesene and its oxidation product, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one (MHO), as determined by SPME/GC-MS technique. In addition, LO
2
pretreatment applied to Californian ‘Bartlett’ or Israeli ‘Spadona’ pears, was effective in reducing superficial scald, senescent scald and internal breakdown, after 4–4.5 months of cold storage at –1°C or 0°C, respectively, plus five to seven days at 20°C. We assume that LO
2
and 1-MCP pretreated fruit remained free of physiological disorders, due to the reduced production of ethylene and the oxidation product MHO during cold storage.

Keywords: Malus domestica, Pyrus communis L. ethylene, a -farnesene, 1-MCP, low-oxygen, superficial scald

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