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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wenatchee, Washington » Physiology and Pathology of Tree Fruits Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317771

Research Project: Developmental Genomics and Metabolomics Influencing Temperate Tree Fruit Quality

Location: Physiology and Pathology of Tree Fruits Research

Title: Prediction and diagnosis of apple fruit physiological disorders

item Mattheis, James
item Rudell, David
item LEISSO, RACHEL - Washington State University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/22/2015
Publication Date: 7/22/2015
Citation: Mattheis, J.P., Rudell Jr, D.R., Leisso, R. 2015. Prediction and diagnosis of apple fruit physiological disorders. Meeting Abstract. N/A.

Interpretive Summary: Apple fruit disorders occurring during or after cold storage are a costly waste of food. Many disorders cause peel or flesh tissues to develop brown discoloration, often without a loss of edibility other than browning is unattractive. Some browning disorders are initiated soon after harvest but symptoms do not develop until months later. The ability to identify fruit lots that will develop browning in advance of symptom development allows packers to sell fruit before it goes bad, saving producer's money and avoiding costly losses of edible fruit. Additionally, many browning disorders have similar appearance but are caused by different factors during storage. Tests that differentiate disorder cause allow producers to identify what went wrong so the same mistakes are not repeated. This also results in less fruit discarded and contributes to producer success as well as avoiding the loss of food at the end of the production chain.

Technical Abstract: Apple postharvest physiological disorders, characterized by peel or flesh necrosis, result in significant yearly financial losses in commercial operations. Stakeholders have identified the need for effective, consistent control measures for apple postharvest physiological disorders and the development of additional control and management tools to replace or amend existing programs. Also, existing protocols for differentiation of disorders rely on often incorrect visual diagnosis that can lead to ineffective, costly control measures or legal questions of treatment efficacy. Many disorders are progressive and economic loss can be reduced if fruit are marketed more quickly than originally planned. Metabolic and genetic biomarker-based tools that predict, diagnose, and distinguish postharvest necrotic disorders will incorporate existing storage infrastructure while reducing costly waste-disposal resulting from existing chemical treatments as well as potential product hygiene issues concerning the common practice of apple bin drenching. Biomarkers are fruit chemicals (metabolites) or gene products (mRNA) that, alone or together, characterize fruit health and viability, and identify a disorder more reliably. Biomarker-based tools will also improve assurance that high quality, disorder-free product would remain available across the supply chain, a problem with most currently available chemical and storage tools that provide no assurance of efficacy to the consumer. Implementation of biomarker-based diagnostic tools could provide a pragmatic technology-provoked shift from treatment-based apple storage of the present to more sustainable, management-based systems similar to those effectively applied in orchard systems such as integrated pest management.