Main content area

Ascorbic Acid Concentration in Cv. Conference Pears during Fruit Development and Postharvest Storage

Franck, Christine, Baetens, Mieke, Lammertyn, Jeroen, Verboven, Pieter, Davey, Mark W., Nicolaï, Bart M.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2003 v.51 no.16 pp. 4757-4763
air, ascorbic acid, carbon dioxide, controlled atmosphere storage, cooling, dehydroascorbic acid, fruiting, fruits, harvest date, oxygen, pears, ripening, trees
L-Ascorbic acid (L-AA) concentration changes during the development of cv. Conference pears and the influence of postharvest handlings (gas condition, cooling rate, cooling duration) on L-AA breakdown were studied. L-AA concentration fluctuates in young fruits, remains stable during fruit maturation, and starts to decline 1 week before commercial harvest. The most rapid decrease in L-AA concentration was found during immediate controlled atmosphere. During short-term storage, only the gas condition was found to influence L-AA breakdown; no significant difference between gradually or immediately cooled pears was determined. Under air conditions, both cooling strategies did not differ from the L-AA breakdown in pears allowed to ripen on the tree up until 3 weeks after the optimal harvest date. During long-term storage, the cooling duration (1−3 weeks) had no effect whereas both O2 and CO2 had a significant effect on L-AA retention. After 7 months of storage, no difference was found in dehydroascorbic acid concentration; the L-AA and total L-AA concentrations, in contrast, were significantly lower in the 5% CO2 conditions.