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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wenatchee, Washington » Physiology and Pathology of Tree Fruits Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #390047

Research Project: Enhancement of Apple, Pear, and Sweet Cherry Quality

Location: Physiology and Pathology of Tree Fruits Research

Title: Fruit quality of ‘Gala’ and ‘Fuji’ apples cultivated under different environmental conditions

item ARGENTA, LUIZ - Epagri
item DO AMARANTE, CASSANDRO - University Of Santa Catarina
item DE FREITAS, SERGIO - Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA)
item BRANCHER, THYANA - Epagri
item NESI, CRISTIANO - Epagri
item Mattheis, James

Submitted to: Scientia Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/11/2022
Publication Date: 5/14/2022
Citation: Argenta, L.C., do Amarante, C.V., de Freitas, S.T., Brancher, T.L., Nesi, C.N., Mattheis, J.P. 2022. Fruit quality of ‘Gala’ and ‘Fuji’ apples cultivated under different environmental conditions. Scientia Horticulturae. 303. Article 111195.

Interpretive Summary: Where apples are grown impacts their appearance, eating quality, and how well they hold up in cold storage. While site impacts on quality is generally accepted, what specific impacts site has on different varieties is unknown. This study was conducted to determine how sites geographically close to each other that differ in elevation and therefore seasonal temperature impact ‘Gala’ and ‘Fuji’ fruit quality. Results indicated warm sites result in smaller fruit size, less peel red color, more russet and more decay. Cold sites produce fruit more susceptible to watercore, internal browning from carbon dioxide, and softening during storage. The results are useful to determine postharvest management strategies for producers within production areas where large differences in elevation exist.

Technical Abstract: This study evaluated the effect of growing site environmental conditions on apple fruit quality. Experimental orchards with ‘Gala’ and ‘Fuji’ apple strains were established in the subtropical humid climate in Southern Brazil, between 26o and 28°S, in the growing sites of São Joaquim, Caçador and Vacaria, located 1415, 960, and 971 m, respectively, above sea level. Fruit quality was assessed at harvest and after storage from the 5th through 8th year after planting. At each growing site, ‘Gala’ apples were harvested at one maturity stage and stored in a controlled atmosphere (CA). ‘Fuji’ apples were harvested at two maturity stages, with early harvested fruit stored in air and late harvested fruit stored in CA. For the São Joaquim site compared with those near Caçador and Vacaria, average temperature during the growing season was lower whereas the number of winter chilling hours and the number of days from bloom to harvest were higher. Fruit weight and red skin area were higher and russeting skin index lower in fruit from the coldest site (São Joaquim) for both cultivars. At harvest, flesh firmness and starch index of fruit from the coldest site were higher or the same as those of the warmest sites (Caçador and Vacaria), depending on cultivar and harvest date. The rate of flesh firmness loss during storage was greater in fruit from the coldest growing site for both cultivars and harvest maturities. Titratable acidity (TA) and soluble solids content (SSC) in fruit from the warmest site were higher or the same as the fruit from the coldest site, depending on when fruit analysis were performed. Although ‘Gala’ apples produced in all three growing sites were equally affected by external fungal decay, fruit from the warmest site had the highest incidence of Glomerella cingulata spot. ‘Fuji’ apples produced in the coldest site had the highest length/diameter ratio and watercore index at harvest and developed more CO2 injury and diffuse flesh browning. External fungal decay index for ‘Fuji’ was the same for the three growing sites for fruit harvested at early maturity, but the decay index was higher for fruit from the warmest site when harvested at an advanced maturity. The study shows the influence of environmental condition on apple fruit growth and development and the need to adjust production and storage practices to achieve high fruit quality based on pre-harvest environment.