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  • Sunburn assessment: A critical appraisal of methods and techniques for characterizing the damage to apple fruit

    Many methods and techniques have been introduced for measuring alterations in the fruit and in its surrounding environment related to sunburn incidence. The research objectives, fruit materials and the environment to be evaluated dictate the methods to follow. These procedures are either non-destructive and involve techniques that allow us to track the course of sunburn development and related environmental parameters, or destructive and involve the removal of fruit from the tree for field/laboratory measurements. Techniques employed can be used for pre-symptomatic monitoring (before symptoms become visible) or characterizing the symptoms already present. The principles behind the measurements and their usefulness for sunburn assessments are discussed and critically evaluated in this review paper. Descriptions and evaluations of the methods and techniques were made in the following groups: 1. Thermal measurements; 2. Visual assessments; 3. Fruit quality measurements; 4. Measurements of physiological and biochemical alterations; and 5. Practical evaluation of sunburn damage. Thermal measurements involve methods tracking the ambient temperature and fruit surface temperature, and their relation to sunburn formation. Visual assessments cover all measuring techniques (skin color, chlorophyll fluorescence, radiation reflection, electron microscopy) that are able to detect changes on/in the fruit skin related to sunburn formation. Fruit quality measurements are used to point out differences in qualities (soluble solids, firmness, titratable acidity, and water content) between unaffected and sunburned areas of the fruit. The measurements of physiological and biochemical alterations (gas exchange, pigment analysis, enzyme activity, gene expression) give us a better insight to the mechanism of sunburn formation. Practical evaluations involve many procedures that are used by scientists to characterize the susceptibility of cultivars, evaluate protection technology, etc. For this purpose, the following methods are in use: expressing the percentage of the total fruit surface area affected by sunburn or the percentage of the total number of fruits damaged on the tree, or even a scale based on the severity of the symptoms occurred. All assessing methods and techniques described here have their pros and cons as well as their specific applicability, therefore any of these cannot be favored to use exclusively for assessing sunburn incidence. The combination of these techniques will be the best choice to meet a given research objective perfectly.

  • Rootstock effects on fruit drop and quality of 'Arlet' apples

    The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of different growth inducing rootstocks on fruit drop of apple. This research was conducted for 3 years at Nagykutas, Western Hungary on apple cv. 'Arlet'. For the experiments, 3 different growth inducing rootstocks were choosen: M.9 (weak), MM.106 (moderate) and crabapple seedling (strong). There were 3 fruit shedding periods on the trees grafted M.9 and MM.106 rootstocks, but in the case of crabapple seedling, only 2 were found. The measure of fruit drop was closely related to seed count of fruits; seed number was the lowest, fruit drop was the highest. The lowest seed number was counted in fruits from trees on crabapple seedling. Seasonal changes of leaf:fruit ratio mainly depended on shoot growth and fruit drop. The rise of the curve of leaf:fruit ratio was very important during the first phase of fruit development, in especially at the end of June and in the beginning of July. The cause of this is that first and second periods of fruit drop appeared during this term. The rise of the curve was important in the beginning of June and the end of July on crabapple seedling. Decreasing tendency of quality parameters was found of fruits from trees on M.9, MM.106 and seedling rootstocks, except flesh firmness which was the highest in fruits from trees on crabapple seedling.

  • Consumer preference for apples: the role of attributes influencing the choice and consumption

    Consumers consider good quality fruits to be those that look good, are firm and offer good flavour and nutritive value. Nowadays, consumers are, however, increasingly  interested  in food qualities which  cannot  be discovered  by  looking, tasting or smelling  the products but their roles are not yet really cleared up. Therefore the objective of this study was to explore the importance of selected kinds of attributes (taste, size, colour, cultivar, origin and price) in fluencing the choice of apples of customers. In accordance with several authors, fruit qualities (taste, size and colour) seemed to be the major attributics influencing the choice of apple independently of people's age and gender. However, the size of fruit had lower importance with increased age. Generally, females gave higher importance rating for most attributes than did male. The price was getting more important for consumer's choice with age which can be connected with their socioeconomic situation. The origin of fruit and the cultivar did not have important influence on consumer's choice. Authors also investigated the preference of consumers for six selected apple varieties ('Jonagold', 'ldared', 'Royal Gala', 'Golden Reinders', 'Braeburn' and 'Granny Smith'). and pointed out the role of the origin in fruit quality and in choice of apple in the case of 'Granny Smith' cultivar. Apple fruit samples from Austria, Argentina, Chile, Hungary and South Africa were involved in this study. Authors evaluated fruit quality parameters of above cultivars and compared them to consumer preference. Consumer preference usually represented the quality attributes of the fruit well. It is also concluded that degree of liking of apple cultivars varies through gender and age. Children and young consumers preferred 'Royal Gala', 'Granny Smith  and 'Braeburn' mostly. In spite of 'Idared' is one of the cultivars grown on the largest area in Hungary, the lowest preference ratings were given for it in both gender categories. Middle-aged consumers (between 25 and 50 years or age) preferred crispy apples with red or blemished skin color ('Royal Gala' and 'Jonagold'). 'Jonagold' and 'Idared' were the most preferred cultivars for the consumers above the age of 50 likely because of their relatively low price, as price plays a significant influencing role in the purchase of these consumers. The relatively expensive and soury 'Granny Smith' appeared not really preferred by this age group. In spite of the significant differences in instrumentally measured fruit quality parameters among 'Granny Smith' fruit samples from different countries, consumers did not give significantly different preference rating scores for those.