1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
This project will strengthen synergy between PACE International LLC hereinafter called the Cooperator, and the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, hereinafter referred to as ARS in a collaborative effort to develop topically applied lipophilic compounds suitable for either conventional or designated ‘organic’ orchards, to be used as remedial or prophylactic treatments to reduce physiological apple disorders related to peel cracking, lenticel markings or lenticel breakdown (LB).
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Lenticel breakdown (LB) is a cuticle disorder occurring mainly on ‘Gala’ and ‘Fuji’ apples. For the past several years, LB has been among the top priorities of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission. Recent work at ARS in Wenatchee has elucidated the dynamics of fruit epidermal tissue—how the apple peel stretches, grows and responds biochemically and structurally to changes in environmental conditions—and has expertise on the nature of LB. On the other hand, PACE International LLC has formulary expertise with a history of successful applications in the tree fruit industry worldwide. Together, we propose to investigate different formulations of natural lipids and lipophilic compounds for their effects on fruit cuticle ultrastructure and fruit cuticle disorders.
This serves as the final report. This project relates to objective 3 of the associated in-house project which seeks to identify factors that influence postharvest fruit quality and development of market-limiting physiological disorders. Data from our previous research showed plant-derived lipophilic coatings applied before harvest were effective for reducing lenticel disorders and moisture loss of ‘Gala’ apples stored at 31°F for up to 180 days. From these data, the product EpiShield was developed. Last year, a proprietary compound was incorporated into EpiShield to be applied on packing lines after the fruit were brushed and washed to provide postharvest benefits for maintenance of fruit quality. Laboratory tests of this formulation did not indicate stored fruit quality was enhanced following treatment with the material.