Year of Publication

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Agriculture

Department

Plant Physiology

First Advisor

Douglas D. Archbold

Abstract

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal) has significant potential as a new fruit crop. During ripening, loss of firmness is extremely rapid, and this trait may be the biggest obstacle to the development of a broader market as handling without injury is difficult. Cold storage of pawpaw seems limited to 4 weeks at 4 C. A study of several cultivars with commercial appeal showed that ripening traits such as ethylene production, respiration and loss of firmness were similar in all genotypes, and that no cultivar showed superior responses to cold storage. Cold storage for longer than 4 weeks caused the development of cold injury symptoms such as black discoloration, rapid loss of firmness, impaired respiration, tissue acidification, decrease in antioxidant content, decrease in volatile ester production and development of off-flavor volatile compounds. Overall cold storage injury symptoms observed in pawpaw may be due to oxidative damage linked to the failure of the two major antioxidant systems that could protect against such damage: phenolics and the ascorbateglutamate system. With the aim of enhancing pawpaw low temperature tolerance and prolonging cold storage length, different techniques such as hot air exposure and hot water dips of fruit prior to beginning cold storage, and intermittent warming periods during cold storage, were evaluated. Despite positive results with these techniques for other commodities, all the strategies failed to appreciably alter fruit ripening, loss of firmness or maintain fruit quality during and/or after cold storage.

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