Submitted to: Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 4, 2002
Publication Date: January 1, 2003
Citation: Saftner, R.A., Abbott, J.A., Conway, W.S., Barden, C.L. 2002. Effects of 1-methylcyclopropene and heat treatments on ripening and postharvest decay development in 'golden delicious' apples. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 128(1):120-127, 2003
Interpretive Summary: As much as 25% of the fresh market apples grown in the U.S are lost each year due to spoilage and decay. Two major thrusts to alleviate this problem are to maintain quality and to reduce postharvest use of synthetic fungicides for controlling decay and losses of fresh produce during storage. We found that fresh market apples treated with the safe vapor 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP), alone or with hot air before cold storage, maintained fruit quality and controlled decay caused by three major postharvest pathogens of apples. 1-MCP was more effective at maintaining quality than either heat treatment or commercial storage in a controlled atmosphere, essentially preventing fruit softening during 5 months storage. Like controlled atmosphere storage, 1-MCP inhibited the production of compounds associated with apple flavor during storage. Since the Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve 1-MCP for use on U.S. grown apples in 2002, this information will provide the U.S. apple industry with alternative strategies to maintain postharvest quality of apple fruit while at the same time reducing the industry's dependence on postharvest use of synthetic fungicides. This will in turn benefit consumers who are concerned about the use of synthetic fungicides and residues on their fresh produce.
Prestorage heat, CA storage, and pre- and poststorage treatments with the ethylene action inhibitor, 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP), were tested for their efficacy at inhibiting fungal decay and maintaining quality in 'Golden Delicious' apples (Malus xdomestica Borkh.) stored 0 to 5 months at 0 C and 7 days at 20 C. Prestorage 1- MCP, heat, 1-MCP plus heat treatments and CA storage decreased decay development caused by wound- inoculated Penicillium expansum, Botrytis cinerea, and Colletotrichum acutatum. Poststorage 1-MCP had no effect on decay development. Prestorage 1-MCP and CA storage delayed ripening as indicated by better retention of green peel color, titratable acidity, Magness-Taylor firmness and the shape of the compression force-deformation curve, and reduced respiration, ethylene production, and volatile levels observed upon transferring the fruit to 20 C. Prestorage 1-MCP delayed ripening more than CA storage. The heat treatment hastened ripening as indicated by greater loss of green peel color and titratable acidity, but delayed ripening as indicated by maintenance of firmness and its transient ability to inhibit respiration, ethylene production and volatile levels following cold storage. Prior to cold storage, heat treatment, but not 1-MCP plus heat treatment, hastened all ripening characteristics evaluated. The results indicated that 1-MCP may provide an effective alternative to CA for reducing decay development and maintaining quality during post-harvest storage of 'Golden Delicious' apples.