Postharvest irradiation enhances anthocyanin synthesis in apples but not in pears

Marais E. ; Jacobs G. ; Holcroft D.M. (2001)


'Cripps' Pink' apples (Malus xdomestica Borkh.) subjected to 72 hours of postharvest irradiation developed a better red blush with high pressure sodium (HPS) (hue angle 56.5°) than with UV-B plus incandescent (UVB+I) lamps (hue angle 70.7°). Only HPS lamps were used in subsequent experiments. The increase in red color (hue angle decrease of 14.9°) in 'Braeburn' apples held at -0.5°C for 8 weeks prior to treatment was smaller than in fruit stored for 4 weeks (hue angle decrease of 23°). No increase in color or anthocyanin concentration was observed in 'Forelle' pears (Pyrus communis L.) that were similarly treated. 'Forelle' pears were harvested with or without attached stem and leaves to determine whether precursor availability restricted postharvest color development. Fruit were irradiated with HPS at 20/20°C and 20/6°C (day/night) for 168 hours. The absence of leaves hastened the decrease in hue angle, but this was due to yellowing and not to development of red blush. Since 'Forelle' pears showed no response to light after harvest, two fully red cultivars, Bon Rouge and Red Anjou, were irradiated with HPS lamps for 72 hours. Hue angle was not affected by irradiation. Thus, anthocyanin synthesis was stimulated by postharvest irradiation with HPS lights in apples, but not in pears.

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