Factors affecting shrivelling and friction discolouration of pears (Pyrus communis L. )

Burger, G. E. (Gerrit Erasmus) (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2005-04)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Shrivelling and friction discolouration (FD), as postharvest disorders, negatively influence the marketability and potential shelf life of pears. By investigating the contributing factors in each of the disorders, the potential involvement of handling and storage variables were determined. This allowed for a better understanding of the responsible factors that create susceptible environments for these disorders to occur. From the moment that pears are harvested they lose weight by means of transpiration and, to a lesser extent, respiration. When excessive losses are experienced, the fruit will appear shrivelled and the marketability and shelf life are negatively influenced. By minimizing the rates of weight loss, the occurrence of shrivelling among pears during the postharvest handling can be lessened. The periods that proved to be most conducive to shrivelling (during a simulated postharvest handling duration) were where temperatures above 0 °C were experienced. These short periods proved more perilous for shrivelling than lengthy storage durations at low temperatures. This influenced the transpiration rate in such a way that the driving force accelerated the rate of weight loss in all the cultivars that were studied. Removing field heat from fresh produce and maintaining the cold chain reduces the driving force behind the transpiration of the pears. In all the cultivars studied, ‘Packham’s Triumph’, ‘Beurrè Bosc’ and ‘Forelle’, smaller and less mature fruit were more inclined to appear shrivelled. The surface area to volume ratio is fundamental in determining the rate of weight loss. This was most evident in ‘Beurrè Bosc’. Although no reproducible results could be obtained from the morphological studies, literature has attributed this phenomenon to the composition and quantity of the cuticle layer. Reduction of weight loss was obtained by sealing of the fruit stem. This obstructed water movement from the fruit through the xylem conducting tissue to the surrounding atmosphere. Not only did the stem appear greener and fresher, but less weight loss and subsequent shrivel was noticeable in the treated fruit. This effect was most evident in ‘Packham’s Triumph’ and ‘Beurrè Bosc’, but not in ‘Forelle’. ‘Forelle’ typically has a very short, thin stem in comparison to the other two cultivars.All the cultivars showed visual shrivel symptoms after 11 days at 18 °C. Rate of weight loss was the lowest in ‘Packham’s Triumph’, but due to its prominent dimensions, it appeared shrivelled before any of the other cultivars. ‘Beurrè Bosc’ lost weight at the highest rate (0.42%.day-1). As fruit injury, in the presence of oxygen, is inevitable, the oxidative enzymatic browning of pears will always be troublesome. This defensive mechanism partially prevents the infection of the fruit where epidermal cells are injured. To minimize FD, impact and frictional forces need to be lower during both harvesting and handling practices. A laboratory scale method was developed through which reproduceable treatments could be performed, thereby subjecting the fruit to industry related friction, rather than impact, injury. By assessing the discolouration in terms of both extent and intensity, the influence of variables could be determined on both ‘Packham’s Triumph’ and ‘Doyenne du Comice’ pears. As also found in practice, ‘Doyenne du Comice’ proved to be far more susceptible to FD than ‘Packham’s Triumph’, although the activity of the enzyme, polyphenol oxidase (PPO) was found to be higher in the latter. Although no significant difference was found between the FD encountered at fruit temperature of 3 °C and 15 °C, discolouration was greater at the higher temperature. This might be attributed to a greater degree of water loss, lower cell turgidity or higher enzyme activity. Thus, fruit taken from storage and sorted directly thereafter will exhibit less FD. The contribution of condensation forming on the fruit, acting as lubrication, cannot be ignored. Such fruit, with high turgor pressure, might again be more susceptible to bruising which will only be revealed well after the injury. Since enzymes, which include PPO, catalyse biochemical reactions, the availability of sufficient substrate most probably regulates the extent of this biochemical discolouration. Harvesting at optimum maturity and preventing any unnecessary friction will most definitely reduce the occurrence of FD. The ultimate challenge remains to optimize sorting and packing conditions without compromising on fruit quality.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Verrimpeling en friksie verbruining (FV), as na-oes defekte, het ’n negatiewe invloed op die bemarkbaarheid en potensiële raklewe van pere. Hierdie studie het die bydraende faktore vir elkeen van die defekte ondersoek. Daar is gepoog om die effek van verskillende hanteringsen opbergingsmetodes op bogenoemde defekte te bepaal. ‘n Beter begrip is verkry van die oorsaaklike faktore wat bydra tot die ontstaan van die betrokke defekte. Direk na die oes van pere, begin die vrug gewig verloor as gevolg van veral transpirasie. Oormatige verliese sal lei tot ’n vrug wat verrimpeld voorkom, met ‘n negatiewe invloed op die bemarkbaarheid en raklewe daarvan. Die voorkoms van die verrimpeling van pere tydens die na-oes hantering van die vrugte, kan verminder word deur vermindering van die tempo van gewigsverlies. Die periodes waartydens die verrimpeling veral voorgekom het, (soos gevind in ’n gesimuleerde na-oes hanteringsmodel) was wanneer temperature bo 0 °C ondervind is. Sulke kort periodes was meer geneig om aanleiding te gee tot verrimpeling as die verlengde periodes van opberging by lae temperature. Sulke periodes van hoër temperature het gelei tot versnelde transpirasie en ’n versnelde tempo van gewigsverlies in al die kultivars wat ondersoek is. Die transpirasietempo van pere kan verlaag word deur die verwydering van veld-hitte en deur die streng behoud van die koue-ketting. In al die kultivars wat ondersoek is, ‘Packham’s Triumph’, ‘Beurrè Bosc’ en ‘Forelle’, is gevind dat die kleiner en minder volwasse vrugte meer geneig was tot verrimpeling. Die oppervlak area tot volume verhouding is krities in die bepaling van die tempo van gewigsverlies. Hierdie bevinding was die prominentste in ‘Beurrè Bosc’. Alhoewel geen beduidende resultate verkry kon word van die morfologiese studies nie, is daar verskeie verwysings in die literatuur wat hierdie verskynsel toeskryf aan die samestelling en hoeveelheid van die kutikula laag. Vermindering van gewigsverlies is verkry deur verseëling van die vrugtestingel. Hierdie tegniek het gelei tot ’n blokkering van die watervloei van die vrug na die omgewing deur die xileem weefsel. Verseëling van die stingel het dit groener en varser laat voorkom, en het ook ’n merkbare vermindering in gewigsverlies en die daaropvolgende verrimpeling tot gevolg gehad. Die effek van stingel-verseëling was die prominentste in ‘Packham’s Triumph’ en‘Beurrè Bosc’. Dit was minder duidelik in ‘Forelle’ wat tipies gekenmerk word deur ‘n baie korter, dun stingel in vergelyking met die ander twee kultivars. Al die kultivars het makroskopiese verrimpeling getoon na ‘n opbergingperiode van 11 dae by 18 °C. Die tempo van gewigsverlies was die laagste in ‘Packham’s Triumph’ alhoewel dit eerste verrimpeld voorgekom het. Dit kan toegeskryf word aan die spesifieke afmetings van hierdie betrokke kultivar. ‘Beurrè Bosc’ het vinnigste gewig verloor (0.42%.dag-1). Aangesien die besering van vrugte, in die aanwesigheid van suurstof, onvermydelik is, sal oksidatiewe, ensiematiese verbruining van pere altyd problematies wees. Hierdie verdedigingsmeganisme voorkom tot ’n mate die infeksie van die vrug wanneer epidermale selle beskadig word. FV kan beperk word deur die vrugte tydens oes en hanteringsprosedures so min as moontlik bloot te stel aan impak en friksie kragte. ’n Laboratorium-model is ontwikkel ter nabootsing van die omstandighede in die industrie. Die vrugte is aan friksie, eerder as impak, onderwerp, soos ondervind in die industrie. Die omvang asook die intensiteit van die verbruining is gemeet in beide ‘Packham’s Triumph’ en ‘Doyenne du Comice’ pere. Op hierdie wyse kon die invloed van die onderskeie veranderlikes in elke kultivar bepaal word. Alhoewel die ensiematiese aktiwiteit van die polifenol oksidase ensiem (PFO) die hoogste in ‘Packham’s Triumph’ was, is gevind dat ‘Doyenne du Comice’ veel meer geneig was tot FV as ‘Packham’s Triumph’. Hierdie bevinding bevestig die verskynsel soos in die praktyk gevind. Alhoewel geen betekenisvolle verskil gevind is tussen FV by vrug temperatuur van 3 °C en 15 °C nie, was daar meer verbruining by die hoër temperatuur. Hierdie verskynsel kan toegeskryf word aan ’n groter mate van waterverlies, laer sel turgiditeit en hoër ensiem aktiwiteit. Dus sal vrugte wat direk na opberging gesorteer word, minder FV toon. Die bydrae van die kondensasie wat op die vrug vorm, en as ’n smeermiddel dien, kan nie geïgnoreer word nie. Sulke vrugte met hoër turgiditeit, mag egter meer vatbaar wees vir kneusing, wat egter eers ’n geruime tyd na die kneusing tevoorverskyn mag kom. Aangesien ensieme, wat PFO insluit, as katalis dien in biochemiese reaksies, sal die beskikbaarheid van voldoende substraat, na alle waarskynlikheid die omvang van die biochemiese verkleuring reguleer.Die oes van pere tydens optimum volwassenheid, en die voorkoming van onnodige friksie sal definitief die voorkoms van FV verminder. Die uitdaging is steeds om sortering- en verpakkingstegnieke verder te verfyn sonder om ’n negatiewe invloed op vrugtekwaliteit te hê.

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