Effect of ethylene degreening on the development of postharvest penicillium molds and fruit quality of early season citrus fruit
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The effect of commercial degreening with ethylene gas on fruit susceptibility and quality and development of postharvest green (GM) and blue (BM) molds on early season citrus fruit was investigated. Each cultivar was harvested with different peel color indexes (CI). Fruit were exposed for 3d to 2 mu LL-1 ethylene at 21 degrees C and 95-100% RH before or after artificial inoculation with Penicillium digitatum or Penicillium italicum. Control fruit were kept at the same environmental conditions without ethylene. Fruit were stored at either 20 degrees C for 7 d or 5 degrees C for 14 d and disease incidence (%) and severity (lesion diameter) were assessed. No significant effect of commercial degreening was observed on fruit susceptibility to both GM and BM on citrus cultivars inoculated after degreening. Likewise, no significant effect was observed on disease incidence on citrus cultivars inoculated before degreening and stored at either 20 degrees C for 7 d or 5 degrees C for 14 d. In contrast, in cultivars like 'Clemenules' mandarins and 'Navelina' oranges, degreening significantly increased the severity on fruit with higher initial CI (-3.6 and 1.7, respectively). GM and BM severity on degreened and control 'Clemenules' mandarins incubated at 20 degrees C for 7 d was 146 and 118 mm and 56 and 46 mm, respectively. In general, commercial degreening did not significantly affect external and internal quality attributes of citrus cultivars. Commercial degreening after inoculation of less green (more mature) fruit showed a trend to increase mold severity, presumably through an aging effect (acceleration of peel senescence). (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.