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Keeping Fuji Apples Fresh / May 29, 1997 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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Fuji apples closeup

Keeping Fuji Apples Fresh

By Dennis Senft
May 29, 1997

Fuji apples retain flavor and crispness for up to nine months after harvest, thanks to fruit storage methods developed at the Agricultural Research Service and now used by the apple industry.

Previously, Fuji apples were only available to consumers during the fall harvest. No one knew how to keep them fresh for a lengthy market period. However, over six growing seasons, ARS scientists determined how Fuji responds to what’s called controlled atmosphere (CA) conditions.

CA is a common industry technique used to extend storage life for other varieties of apples by modifying the concentration of the main gasses naturally present in air--oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide.

ARS scientists analyzed the Fuji for changes in color, firmness, starch, sugar and acid content. Results: the best CA treatment for Fuji apples holds storage temperature at 34 degrees F. and maintains oxygen at one to 1.5 percent and carbon dioxide at one percent or less.

Fuji apple production is rapidly expanding in Washington state. In 1992, growers there produced about 805,000 boxes of Fujis. By 1995, production had jumped to nearly 3.5 million boxes.

An article about the research appears in the April issue of Agricultural Research, ARS’ monthly magazine. The article also is on the World Wide Web in html format at:

Scientific contact: James P. Mattheis, USDA-ARS Tree Fruit Research Laboratory, Wenatchee, Wash., phone (509) 664-2280, fax 664-2287, e-mail

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