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Maturity, harvest and storage in Pink Lady and Envy to reduce the risk of internal browning

Research & Extension

This article was written by Dr Hannah James.

The 2021 season saw an increase in the reports of internal browning disorders in Pink Lady and Scilate (Envy™) apples.  This coincided with an increase in the use of Harvista™, and other plant growth regulators, to manage the harvest timeframe. Due to this, internal browning and use of plant growth regulators have been linked by association.

Why was the incidence of internal browning higher in the 2021 season?

The higher incidence of internal browning in the 2021 season was the result of a perfect storm of circumstances:

  • Seasonal climate resulted in a higher risk than the last few seasons in most growing regions
  • Harvest management was strained due to labour shortages brought about by Covid resulting in harvest and storage of over mature fruit
  • Postharvest management of cooling and CO2 were not optimal due to labour and space shortages
  • Some fruit was stored longer than anticipated due to market conditions

The underlying mechanisms of internal browning are different in Scilate (Envy) and Pink Lady apples

Both varieties share some risks:

  • Cool seasons have a higher risk
  • More mature fruit have a higher risk
  • Rapid postharvest cooling increases the risk
  • Prolonged exposure to CO2 increases the risk

One fundamental difference are the roles of ethylene and 1-MCP (1-Methylcyclopropene) in the development of the disorder.  In Scilate (Envy), both ethylene and 1-MCP play a significant physiological role in the development of internal browning. This is why there are specific use recommendations around the application of 1-MCP, both pre-harvest as Harvista, and post-harvest as SmartFresh, for Scilate (Envy).  Please check with AgroFresh if you have any questions about using SmartFresh or Harvista on Scilate (Envy) apples.

This is not the case with Pink Lady apples.  For Pink Lady apples, SmartFresh should be applied as soon as possible after harvest to prevent the development of superficial scald and to have the best outcome on maintaining fruit quality during storage.  Additionally, Harvista is a useful tool for managing maturity in Pink Lady in order to harvest fruit at an optimal maturity and help reduce the risk of developing internal browning during storage.

The content provided is for information and education only.  For further information please contact your AgroFresh Account Manager or APAL on (03) 93293511.

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