Ripening patterns, ethylene production and improvement of quality of plums (Prunus salicina Lindl.)

Kruger, Liezl (2002-04)

Thesis (MScAgric)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Internal breakdown (internal browning - IB and gel breakdown - GB), over maturity and immaturity are the main factors adversely affecting the quality of exported South African plums. Maturity problems occur when plums are strip harvested, i.e., all the fruit in a block or orchard are harvested once, when the majority of the fruit are at optimum maturity. This results in both ovennature and immature fruit being harvested and contributes to a high percentage of fruit being rejected for export. In general, internal browning occurs when plums are exported under a single 10\,,, temperature regime and gel breakdown occurs when plums are exported under a dual temperature regime. However, GB can also occur at harvest in fruit that are very ripe and may occur at single low temperatures, where it would be masked by lB. While it is known that some cultivars, like 'Angeleno', can withstand a single temperature regime, others cannot. To the best of our knowledge, the reason for this difference is not understood. Many factors affect the quality of plums, including light incidence in the canopy, mineral nutrition and harvest maturity. Plums that were grown on high density training systems such as 'a V- or spindle system yielded consistently high quality fruit with low incidences of gel breakdown. This was in contrast to earlier findings where low-density training systems produced high levels of GB, especially in the lower part of the tree canopy. Branches that were shaded with 80% shade netting yielded fruit with high levels of GB, indicating that the main effect of improved canopy structure on quality was improved light management. A postharvest boron application on 'Songold' plums prior to storage had no effect on the incidence of intemal breakdown in the fruit, but did damage the cuticle, resulting in severe shrivel. However, internal conductivity and firmness measurements indicated that there was some effect of the boron on cell membranes. A more thorough investigation of pre- and postharvest application of boron is recommended in order to determine whether there could be a positive effect of boron in improving fruit quality in plums. Four cultivars of plums ('Pioneer', 'Sapphire', "Songold ' and 'Angeleno') were harvested throughout, and extending beyond, the commercial harvesting period. In all cultivars, the drop in firmness between harvests was not as great as expected and the later harvested fruit were of a similar, if not superior, quality as compared to the earlier harvested fruit. Later harvested plums tended to have higher TSS and better colour development. Contrary to what was expected, later harvested fruit did not have more internal disorders than earlier harvested fruit. This indicates the importance of harvesting at optimum maturity. 'Angeleno' plums had no internal disorders, even after five weeks of cold storage at a single low temperature. 'Pioneer' and 'Sapphire' plums were classified as climacteric and 'Songold' and 'Angeleno' were classified as suppressed climacteric based on ethylene production. The climacteric plums respired and produced ethylene at a higher rate than the suppressed climacteric plums. Climacteric plums ripened faster during shelf life than suppressed climacteric plums. Furthermore, while climacteric plums did not need a cold storage period prior to ripening, suppressed climacteric plums needed a cold storage period in order to ripen normally. The longer the cold storage period prior to transfer to higher temperatures, the faster the plums ripened and the higher the ethylene production at the higher temperature. The suppressed climacteric genotype could possibly be incorporated into plum breeding programs in order to extend the storage period and shelflife of new plum cultivars. The long storage times required to ship plums from South Africa to the export markets has necessitated research on postharvest physiology and quality of this fruit. The use of the climacteric and suppressed climacteric system to classify fruit is expected to assist in understanding the different physiological responses of the cultivars and assist in developing handling protocols. Preharvest factors, particularly light and nutrition, also playa role in postharvest quality.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Interne verval (interne verbruining en gelverval), oorrypheid en onryp vrugte, is die hoof faktore wat die uitvoer van Suid Afrikaanse pruime negatief beïnvloed. Rypheidsprobleme ontstaan wanneer pruime gestroop-oes word, met ander woorde, al die vrugte in 'n blok of boord word geoes wanneer die meerderheid vrugte optimum rypheid bereik het. As gevolg hiervan word 'n groot persentasie vrugte vir uitvoer afgekeur, omdat hulle te ryp of nie ryp genoeg is nie. Oor die algemeen vind interne verbruining plaas wanneer vrugte onder 'n enkel lae temperatuur uitgevoer word en gelvervel vind plaas wanneer vrugte onder 'n dubbele temperatuur regime vervoer word. Gel verval kan egter in baie ryp vrugte by oes voorkom en mag by enkel lae temperature voorkom .waar dit deur interne verbruining gemaskeer sal word. Kultivars soos 'Angeleno' kan onder enkel lae temperatuur uitgevoer word sonder interne probleme, terwyl ander pruimkultivars me so uitgevoer kan word nie. So ver ons weet, word die rede hiervoor nie goed verstaan nie. Daar is baie faktore wat die kwaliteit van pruime beïnvloed, onder meer lighuishouding, minerale voeding en die rypheid waarby die pruime geoes word. Pruime wat in hoë-digtheid sisteme soos 'n V- of "spindle" groei het goeie kwaliteit vrugte met 'n lae persentasie gelverval gelewer. Dit is in teenstelling met vroeër bevindinge, waar vrugte van lae digtheid boorde hoë persentasies geverval gelewer het, veral in die onderste gedeeltes van die boom. Takke wat met 80% skadunet bedek is het hoër persentasies gelverval as die kontrole gelewer, wat aandui dat die hoof effek van die verbeterde boom struktuur op kwaliteit, verbeterde lighuishouding was. 'n Na-oes aanwending van boor op 'Songold' pruime het geen effek op die voorkoms van gelverval gehad nie, maar het die kutikula beskadig en tot hoë persentasies verrimpeling gelei. Fermheid en inteme weerstand lesings het egter getoon dat daar wel 'n effek van die boor op die selmembrane en selwande was. 'n Meer omvattende ondersoek van voor- en na-oes aanwending van boor word aanbeveel om vas te stelof daar wel 'n positiewe effek van boor in die verbetering van pruim kwaliteit is. Vier pruim kultivars, ('Pioneer', 'Sapphire', 'Songold' en 'Angeleno'), is gedurende, sowel as later as die kommersiële oesperiode geoes. In al die kultivars was die afname in fermheid kleiner as wat verwag is, en vrugte wat later geoes is het dieselfde, en soms beter, kwaliteit as die vrugte wat vroeër geoes is gehad. Pruime wat later geoes is het beter kleur en gewoonlik hoër suikers gehad. In teenstelling met wat verwag is, het pruime wat later geoes is nie meer interne verval gehad as die pruime wat vroeër geoes is nie. Dit dui die belangrikheid van optimale oesrypheid aan. 'Angeleno' het geen interne verval gehad nie, selfs na vyfweke opberging by -0.5°C. 'Pioneer' en 'Sapphire' pruirne is as klimakteries en 'Songold' en 'Angeleno' as onderdrukte klimakteries geklassifiseer, gebaseer op etileen produksie. Die klimakteriese pruime het teen 'n hoër tempo gerespireer en etileen geproduseer as die onderdrukte klimakteriese pruime. Gedurende raklewe het klimakteriese vrugte vinniger as onderdrukte klimakteriese vrugte ryp geword. Verder, terwyl klimakteriese pruime nie opbgerging by 'n lae temperatuur nodig gehad het nie, het onderdrukte klimakteriese vrugte welopberging by 'n lae temperatuur nodig gehad om normaal ryp te word. Hoe langer die koel opbergingsperiode was, hoe vinniger het die pruime ryp geword by raklewe en hoe hoër was hulle etileen produksie. Die onderdrukte klimakteriese genotipe kan moontlik in teelprogramme geïnkorporeer word om kultivars met verlengde opbergings- en raklewe te teel. Die lang vervoer tye wat benodig word om Suid Afrikaanse pruime by die uitvoer markte te kry het dit nodig gemaak om navorsing oor die na-oes fisiologie en kwaliteit van pruime te doen. Die klassifisering van pruime as klimakteries of onderdrukte klimakteries kan ons in staat stelom die verskillende fisiologiese reaksies van die kultivars te verstaan en om hanterings prosedures te ontwikkel. Voor-oes faktore, veral lighuishouding en mineraalvoecling speelook 'n rol in na-oes kwaliteit van pruime.

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