Quality and Aroma of 'Golden Delicious' apples at harvest and after CA storage as influenced by pruning techniques

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Apple fruit quality depends on a number of factors including the type of breeding and consequently the pruning techniques adopted and storage conditions. Two types of breeding were taken into account concerning 'Golden Delicious' apples from Aosta Valley orchards: Fuseau Fougères (FF) and Solaxe with extinction (spur thinning) according to Lauri and Lespinasse (1998) (SE). Fresh and dry weights, soluble solid content, titratable acidity, firmness and volatile compound emission were analysed at harvest and during controlled atmosphere (CA) storage. Volatiles extracted in methylene chloride were separated and identified with a GC/MS. Dry weight and soluble solid content (°Brix) were significantly higher for apples picked from SE trained trees, both at harvest (PRO) and throughout CA storage (PRO-PR4), and for both years taken into account. Aromatic compounds detected were classified as aldehydes, aliphatic acids and alcohols, benzene derivatives, ketones, ethers, esters, lactones, norisoprenoids and terpenes. The volatile compounds 1-butanol, hexanol, 2-hexenal, acetic and hexanoic acids, eugenol and 1-butanol-2- methylacetate were largely represented both at harvest and after storage.

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‘Golden Delicious’ apple fruits were stored for 3–9 months at 11 combinations of CO2/O2 concentrations at 1°C. The production of volatiles by the stored fruits was measured by gas chromatography during a post-storage shelf-life period at 20°C. The reduction in the production of volatiles largely resembled the general inhibition of ripening under the various controlled-atmosphere (CA) conditions. With increasing CO2- and decreasing O2-concentrations, aroma volatile production was reduced, especially if both gas treatments were simultaneously applied. However, there was neither a simple additive or synergistic, nor a linear relationship between changes in storage atmosphere composition and aroma volatile production. Decreasing the O2 concentration to 3% had little effect on volatile production, but a further decrease to 1% significantly reduced it. At O2 concentrations above 3%, higher CO2 concentration became decisive in diminishing volatile production. After an extended storage, a clear residual CA effect on volatile production was observed. After 7 or 9 months’ storage a complete recovery from this CA effect was not possible. A three-week treatment at 1°C and ambient atmosphere, after the CA storage, and before a shelf-life period greatly improved production of volatiles. After 9 months of storage, however, even this treatment failed to allow a complete recovery.