Main content area

Long Term Exposure to Low Ethylene and Storage Temperatures Delays Calyx Senescence and Maintains ‘Afourer’ Mandarins and Navel Oranges Quality

Alhassan, Nasiru, Golding, John B., Wills, Ron B. H., Bowyer, Michael C., Pristijono, Penta
Foods 2019 v.8 no.1
Citrus sinensis, air, antioxidant activity, ascorbic acid, calyx, cell respiration, chronic exposure, consumer acceptance, ethanol, ethylene, fruit quality, fruits, mandarins, storage quality, storage temperature, storage time, titratable acidity, total soluble solids, weight loss
Calyx browning and internal quality loss are major physiological causes for the loss of quality in citrus fruit during storage. While the symptoms of calyx senescence are only superficial, it can affect the appearance and consumer acceptability of citrus fruit. In this study, continuous ethylene exposure at different storage temperatures was investigated to assess their effect on calyx senescence and internal qualities in ‘Afourer’ mandarin and Navel orange fruit during storage. ‘Afourer’ mandarin fruit were stored at ≤0.001 (equivalent to ethylene-free air), 0.01, 0.1 and 1 µL L−1 of ethylene at either 5, 10 or 20 °C, whilst in a parallel experiment, Navel oranges were exposed to ≤0.001, 0.1 and 1 µL L−1 ethylene at either 1 or 10 °C. Changes in external and internal postharvest quality parameters were assessed for up to 8 weeks for ‘Afourer’ mandarins and 10 weeks for Navel oranges. At all storage temperatures, high levels of ethylene were found to increase the level of calyx senescence, weight loss, loss of fruit firmness and respiration rates. Also, there were significant effects of ethylene and storage temperatures on total soluble solids (TSS) content, titratable acidity (TA), and ethanol accumulation in both citrus species. Continuous exposure to high ethylene also significantly reduced vitamin C and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) in ‘Afourer’ mandarins after 8 weeks of storage. Overall, ethylene treatments had a significant effect on both the external and internal qualities of the fruit during storage. The relationship between ethylene concentrations and storage temperatures demonstrate that lowering atmospheric ethylene levels at reduced storage temperatures maintain fruit quality during long term storage.