Project Details

Description

Consumption of fruit contributes substantially to human health, and increased fruit consumption is suggested as one means to help curb the alarming rise in obesity and diabetes in the U.S. American markets offer an array of moderately priced fruits of apparent good quality, the result of decades of effort by fruit breeders and postharvest specialists, yet daily consumption continues to fall far short of the recommended 3 to 5 servings. Despite abundance and availability, consumers limit fruit purchases, their foremost complaints being insufficient quality and lack of flavor. Fruit producers often market fruit from cultivars with marginal quality and flavor to maintain market share, or switch to new cultivars with perceived increased value, but for which several years of research are needed to best maintain postharvest quality and shelf life. The key to increasing consumption of fresh fruits, and for maintaining grower income, viable U.S. fruit production, and export opportunities, lies in providing fruit with superior flavor and long shelf life that are also perceived as healthy, both in terms of nutrition and minimal risks from agrichemicals or pathogens. The US production of peach fruit is approximately 1,400,000 metric tons annually, with roughly 10 % destined for export. The marketability of peach, particularly fruit for export is constrained, however, by the fruit intolerance to refrigerated storage, expressed in chilling injury manifested by wooly dry texture (wooliness), loss of fruit juiciness and of flavor, failure to ripen normally as well as susceptibility to disease. We want to control wooliness by exploiting a new understanding on the metabolic basis for this phenomenon. We propose that a fundamental process leading to wooliness is cold-induced oxidative cross-linking of cell wall-bound phenolic acids. This process, resulting in tightening of cell walls and leading to water expulsion, account for wooly flesh consistency and loss of juiciness in cold-held fruit. The objective of the present work is, accordingly, to examine whether cell wall cross-linking is related to and, furthermore, a causation of wooliness. An additional objective is a practical control of wooliness, with the use of various gaseous atmospheres to arrest cross-linking of cell walls in cold-held peach fruit. Because wooliness is deterrence to consumption of peach and also other stone fruit, wooliness limits the use of refrigeration for extending the shelf life of peach and other stone fruit. Arrest of wooliness in cold-held fruit might allow out-of-season or out-of-region marketing of peach and other stone fruit. In summary, our working concept suggests that wooliness (cold injury) in peach fruit might stem from cell wall re-structuring. Validation of this view will create practical means to arrest wooliness and, thereby, use of refrigeration to achieve shelf life for the out-of-season or out-of-region marketing of fruit with prized quality
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date10/1/109/30/13

Funding

  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))

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