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 examines 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. Completion of the outlined objectives, namely, arrest of wooliness in cold-held fruit, might allow out-of-season or out-of-region marketing of peach and other stone fruit. These objectives are, particularly, relevant to New Jersey stakeholders, because New Jersey-grown peaches are prized for their fresh quality whereas wooliness depreciates the value of fruit quality and restrict the 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.
|Effective start/end date||10/1/10 → 9/30/15|